From a message in November by Edwin Hinshaw
A beatitude is prophetic pronouncement of joy, hope and promise used most effectively by Jesus in his teaching. Beatitudes are not peculiar to the New Testament. They are found throughout the Bible. They are pronouncements upon the person who is righteous, who keeps his/her hand (life) from doing evil, looking forward with confidence and trust in God. Beatitudes are not eschatological in nature (such as rewards after death or the end), but promises realizable during one’s life time upon earth.
The joy and happiness expressed in the Beatitudes comes not from good fortune or reward but from the fact that action being considered reflects the nearness of God. While the Beatitudes cited by Jesus follow the general pattern of all Beatitudes, he adds a special dimension or paradox. Persons who in no way appear fortunate are those declared blessed. The special dimension comes from taking a risk in faith with justice, peace, simple living and witness to God’s love.
In addition, Beatitudes are so stated as to release us from the tension of the present into the joy of the moment. In planning for tomorrow, the next day after that, or the next year, may our goals be joyful, hopeful, risky, moral and affirmations of the nearness of God: Beatitudes for the future.