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A Recipe for Happiness

Theme: Jesus gave us the recipe for happiness — the Beatitudes. (Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany.)
Object: The ingredients for making trail mix. (healthy choice of whole-grain cereal, raisins, dried fruit like cranberries or banana slices, walnuts or almonds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips or M&Ms. etc.)
Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12

Today, we are going to fix a tasty snack treat. Oh boy, that sounds like fun. The first thing we need is a recipe. You know what a recipe is, don’t you? A recipe is a set of instructions, including a list of all of the ingredients, that tells you how to prepare a dish. Here is my recipe to make a delicious and healthy trail mix snack (hold up the recipe. And here is a bag with all of the ingredients we will need and a bowl to mix it up in. (Have the ingredients measured and placed in plastic bags ahead of time to make the preparation of the mix go quickly.)

First, we will pour in some nuts, next some raisins. Let's see, next we put in some sunflower seeds, and then some M&Ms. (Continue until all ingredients have been added, commenting about each one.) Well, the trail mix is all finished, so now we have a tasty snack to enjoy at the close of our lesson today.

Did you know that Jesus gave us a recipe for living a happy life? In the book of Matthew, it says, “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.” What did he teach them? He taught them a lesson which we call “The Beatitudes.” Each one of the beatitudes starts with the words, “Blessed are they. . .” Some translations of the Bible use the word happy instead of blessed. Let's see what Jesus said about what is needed for a happy life full of God's blessings. (Read these from the Bible.)

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
  • Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

You may think that some of those things that Jesus taught sound pretty difficult, and you are right. Even when you have a recipe, it may be difficult to follow, but if you follow the instructions to the letter, you can be assured of a good outcome. Jesus did not promise that life would always be easy, but he did say if we follow the teachings in today’s lesson, we can be assured that we will receive God’s blessing and we will be happy indeed!

Dear Father, we thank you for the teachings of Jesus. Even though life may not always be easy, we know that if we follow his teachings, we will be blessed. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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An alternate sermon based on Matthew 5:1-12: "The Happy Puppy"
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