Topic 6: The Sermon On The Mount

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The Sermon on the Mount 2-1

Lesson Time: 10 periods (1 hour each)

Main Points:

1. The Background of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 4:23-5:2) 2. The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12)

3. To be Salt and Light of the World (Matthew 5:13-16) 4. The Six Antitheses (1) (Matthew 5:17-48)

5. The Six Antitheses (2) (Matthew 5:17-48) 6. Emphasis on True Piety (Matthew 6:1-18)

7. Attitude towards Life (1): Riches in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-24)

8. Attitude towards Life (2): Do not Worry about Life (Matthew 6:25-34) 9. The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:1-12)

10. Three Warnings (Matthew 7:13-29)

Text Interpretation:

When Jesus began his ministry, he aimed to remind people to be alert and to renew themselves. So he preached and told people to turn away from sins because the Kingdom of Heaven was near. After that, in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained to people about the life of the Kingdom of heaven, the kind of life with God as the centre.

The Sermon on the Mount referred to Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 5-7, in which Jesus made a brief explanation of the meaning of Kingdom of heaven and the qualities and lives of its people. According to the descriptions in Matthew, the time Jesus preached the Sermon should be within the first half of his ministry in Galilee, or in the first year of his three-year ministry. At that time, Jesus no longer confined himself to teach in the synagogues, but went around preaching. Meanwhile, the hostility of the Jewish religious leaders towards Jesus had

Topic 6: The Sermon On The Mount

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The Sermon on the Mount 2-2

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus introduced a God-centred model of living. Some Jewish religious leaders at Jesus’ times advocated strict yet superficial compliance to the Mosaic Law. In contrast, Jesus taught that happiness could neither be attained by acquiring wealth or status nor by being pious. Even if one offered help to the poor ones and practised the rituals, he/she would be considered self-centred if he/she followed the Law just to avoid being punished and to receive praises.

The key to true happiness is to live a life with God being the centre of it. People should have faith in God that He will provide us what we need and will make plans for us. They should also pursue spiritual qualities, such as compassion, endurance and humbleness etc.

Jesus called those who lived a God-centred life as the salt and light of the world. They would contribute themselves as the salt preserving the world and as the light vitalising people. They would learn to follow God and love others as themselves according to the Golden Rule.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus emphasised that his preaching aimed not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. While the Law concerned more about people’s religious behaviour on the outside, the people of the Kingdom of Heaven concerned about the spirit of the Law.

It is a new requirement for the people to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

At last, Jesus encouraged people to practise what he preached and reminded people that the path to eternal life would be narrow. People had to endure sufferings, opposition and persecution to attain true happiness.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Teacher’s Guide 2-1

1. Biblical reference: Matthew 4:23-5: 2

2. Objectives:

y To learn about the political, social and religious life situations of the Jews in Jesus’

times, so as to understand the different expectations of happy life cherished by different Jewish sects.

y To contrast the expectations of happy life of different Jewish sects with that of Jesus.

y To build a framework based on the background information learnt in this period, for understanding Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount.

3. Teaching strategies

Introduction y During Jesus’ times, the Jews lost control over political and religious matters because their country was defeated and they were ruled by foreign powers for several hundreds years. The Jews understood that their hope for happy life hinged on the coming of the Messiah sent by God. Only the promised Messiah would overturn the foreign rule, helping them regain their autonomy and rebuilding their own country.

Issues for Explorations

y What is a happy life?

Enquiry Questions

y What is a happy life?

y What were the expectations of a happy life among different Jewish sects during Jesus’ times?

y How did Jesus interpret a happy life? How was his interpretation different from those of the Jewish sects?

Learning Activities

y By reading the mottos of some famous people and the policy platforms for the Chief Executive Election, explore the qualities of the happy life that people pursue nowadays.

y By learning about the political, social and religious situations of the Jews during Jesus’ times, analyse the expectations of a

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Teacher’s Guide 2-2

y Through group discussion, contrast the expectations of a happy life of different Jewish sects with that of Jesus.

Key Concepts y Happy life Generic Skills,

Values and

Attitudes involved

y Refer to the ‘Generic Skills, Values and Attitudes’

tables included in the corresponding activities.

High-order Questions

y What would a happy life be under religious guidance?

Extended Activities y Understand and analyse the expectations of a happy life among various social classes and organisations in Hong Kong.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Activity One 2-1

Activity One

Enquiry Questions Generic Skills Values and Attitudes What is a happy life? Creativity, critical thinking

skills, collaboration skills, communication skills, problem solving skills

Truth, liberty, human dignity, common good

Teaching Steps:

Step 1: Teacher asks:

y Teacher discusses with students: What is a happy life?

y Teacher shows PowerPoint 1 (What is happiness? Quotations from Celebrities) y Teacher asks students to choose a quotation they agree or disagree the most and

share their views.

Step 2: Teacher carries out the “Life with 100% Happiness” activity with students. Let them explore Hong Kong people’s expectations of a happy life:

y Teacher shows PowerPoint 2 (Life with 100% Happiness?) and distributes the policy platform of Alan Leong (http://www.competitionforce.hk/policy_eng.php).

Briefly introduce Alan Leong’s policy platform for the Chief Executive Election.

y Teacher asks: What are Hong Kong people’s expectations of a happy life as revealed in the policy platform of Alan Leong?

y Teacher divides students into groups of four and asks each group to draft a simple policy platform introducing ways to bring Hong Kong people a happy life.

y Ask each group to report their platform to the whole class. Teacher may summarise students’ understanding of Hong Kong people’s expectations of a happy life from their drafts.

Step 3: Teacher goes further to discuss with students:

y Is happiness a kind of luck or something that has to be pursuit or one will never get it?

y Is happiness determined by inner spirituality or easily affected by external factors such as power forces and social traditions?

y During the process of pursuing happiness, what and who will you concern about?

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Activity One 2-2

Step 4: Teacher summarises:

y People with various cultural backgrounds in different times have diverse understandings of happiness and so do Hong Kong people.

y What were the Jews’ expectations of a happy life in Jesus’ times?

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Activity Two 2-1

Activity Two

Enquiry Questions Generic Skills Values and Attitudes What were the expectations

of a happy life among different Jewish sects during Jesus’ times?

Creativity, critical thinking skills, collaboration skills, communication skills, problem solving skills

Truth, liberty, human dignity, common good

Teaching Steps:

Step 1: Teacher shows PowerPoint 3 (Political, Social and Religious Situations of the Jews in Jesus’ Times), or distributes Students’ Reference: Material 1 (Political, Social and Religious Situations of the Jews in Jesus’ Times) to help students understand the background of Jesus’ times.

Step 2: Teacher points out:

y The Jews had been under foreign rule for a long time. In Jesus’ times, the Jews under the rule of Romans had different expectations of a happy life.

Step 3: Teacher carries out ‘The Jews’ Expectations of Happy Life’ activity with students:

y Teacher divides students into groups of four, and distributes Students’ Reference:

Material 2 (Expectations of Happy Life among Different Jewish Sects in Jesus’

Times) to let students have a basic understanding of the contents.

y Teacher hands out Worksheet 1 (Understanding of Happy Life among Different Jewish Sects in Jesus’ Times) to the groups. Based on the information on Students’

Reference: Material 2, guide students to deduce (1) who was supposed to be happy according to different Jewish sects, and (2) their ways of achieving happiness.

y After students finish Worksheet 1, teacher invites students to present their ideas.

Teacher then briefly explains the answers on Teachers’ Reference: Appendix 1 [Suggested Answers for Worksheet 1 (Understanding of Happy Life among Different Jewish Sects in Jesus’ Times)] and wraps up the activity.

Step 4: Teacher goes further to discuss with students:

y If you lived in Jesus’ times, what kind of life would the Jews expect you to live?

Explain.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Activity Two 2-2

y Among the different expectations of happy life of the Jews, which of them were worth pursuing? Why?

y Among the different ways of pursuing happiness suggested by the Jews, which of them were worth learning? What were the merits of these ways?

Step 5: Teacher summarises:

y The Jews had experienced the downfall of their country and had been taken captive for around 400 years. Since the Jews were ruled by foreign powers during that period, they longed for liberty and independence.

y The Jews’ expectations of a happy life were closely related to the political, social, and religious background at that time.

y Different Jewish sects had diverse expectations of happiness due to their distinct social positions. Each of these Jewish sects pursued distinctive satisfaction in political and religious life under the Roman rule.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Activity Three 2-1

Activity Three

Enquiry Questions Generic Skills Values and Attitudes How did Jesus interpret a

happy life? How was his interpretation different from those of the Jewish sects?

Creativity, critical thinking skills, collaboration skills, communication skills, problem solving skills

Truth, liberty, human dignity, common good, caring

Teaching Steps:

Step 1: Teacher points out:

y Different Jewish sects had diverse expectations and understandings of happiness.

y Similarly, Jesus had his own understanding of happiness.

Step 2: Teacher asks:

y How did Jesus interpret a happy life? What are the differences between the expectations of a happy life at Jesus’ times and at present?

Step 3: Teacher carries out the ‘Different to Each Other’ activity. Ask students to compare and contrast Jesus’ understandings of a happy life with that of the Jews at that time.

y Teacher hands out Students’ Reference: Material 3 (Jesus’ Understanding of a Happy Life) and introduces Jesus’ understanding of a happy life to students.

y Teacher divides students into groups of four and hands out Worksheet 2 (Compare and Contrast Jesus’ Understanding of a Happy Life with that of the Jews). Ask the groups to compare the contents of Students’ Reference: Material 2 with those of Material 3 and to finish Worksheet 2. Let students discuss the differences of the understanding of a happy life among Jesus and different Jewish sects.

y Teacher invites students to present their views. Refer to and briefly explains Teachers’ Reference: Appendix 2 [Suggested Answers for Worksheet 2 (Compare and Contrast Jesus’ Understanding of a Happy Life with that of the Jews)], and wraps up the activity.

Step 4: Teacher goes further to discuss with students:

y Is happiness a kind of luck or something that has to be pursuit or one will never get it?

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Activity Three 2-2

y Is happiness more about the interests of a community or the interests of the entire mankind?

y How would you comment on Jesus’ understanding of a happy life?

Step 5: Teacher summarises:

y In the past, Jesus taught the disciples on a mount and preached about living a happy life. It was known as ‘the Sermon on the Mount’. Jesus wished the Jews could improve their religious life and the relationship with God, so as to enjoy freedom and live a happy life.

y Jesus believed that people should take the initiative to pursuit a happy life, which was a matter of spiritual contentment that could benefit the entire mankind.

y We will study the Sermon on the Mount in details in the coming lessons. We will try to understand the specific contents of a happy life according to Jesus and find out the values of Jesus’ teachings to people nowadays.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Extended Activities

Extended Activities:

1. Teacher asks students to read some newspapers and magazines and to look for different kind of a happy lives expected by the following social classes and organisations in Hong Kong:

a. The working class b. The middle class c. The upper class

d. A religious organisation

2. With reference to Worksheet 2, teacher asks students to use the three guidelines [(1) whether happiness is affected by the environment/pursued by oneself; (2) whether happiness is affected by external factor such as power and social traditions/ spirituality;

(3) whether happiness should concern more about national interests/the interests of the entire mankind] to analyse and organise the contents of happy life they have pursued.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Teacher’s References Material 1 2-1

Material 1: The Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God

1. The Kingdom of Heaven(the Kingdom of God):

The Kingdom of Heaven is also called the Kingdom of God, meaning the place where God’s power is manifested. The term ‘the Kingdom of Heaven’ was used in the Gospel of Matthew since its target readers, the Jews, were used to this term. ‘The Kingdom of God’ was used in the Gospels of Mark and Luke since Jews were not the primary readers of these two gospels.

2. Comparison between Jesus’ and the Jewish ideas of the Kingdom of Heaven:

Jesus’ idea of the Kingdom of Heaven The Jewish idea of the Kingdom of Heaven y The Kingdom of Heaven is a territory

where God has sovereignty. It is spiritual;

y The Kingdom of heaven is the grace of God. People can enter it for free;

y The Kingdom of Heaven is a gift to all people, including both good and bad people, the Jews and the Gentiles, the despised and the sinners. People can decide whether they want to accept it;

y To enter the Kingdom of heaven is the most important thing in one’s life.

y At that time, the Jews believed that God would send the Messiah to rescue the Israelites from foreign rule. Therefore, the Jewish idea of the Kingdom of Heaven:

y It was a political issue;

y Only those who observed God’s laws and lived a holy and righteous life would be elected to be its members.

3. Comparison between Jesus’ and John the Baptist’s ideas of the Kingdom of Heaven:

Jesus’ idea of the Kingdom of Heaven

John the Baptist’s idea of the Kingdom of heaven y Jesus highlighted that the Kingdom of

Heaven means God’s salvation.

y Jesus preached that the Kingdom of Heaven is not something that will appear in the future. Rather, it had already been manifested in him and his works.

y John the Baptist preached, ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is near’. He emphasised that God’s judgment is coming, and the axe is already at the root of the trees.

y God will come in as King. He will cleanse, screen, choose and judge all people. Nobody can escape from His judgment.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Teacher’s References Material 1 2-2

4. Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of Heaven can be interpreted in the following ways:

y The Kingdom of Heaven has already come to earth:

Jesus preached, ‘The Kingdom of God is near!’ (Mark 1:15) He took up the ministry, lived according to God’s will, and resisted temptations and defeated the devil successfully. He had proven to people that the Kingdom of Heaven has come to earth.

y The Kingdom of Heaven will grow secretly, steadily and fully.

Jesus used the Parable of the Mustard Seed to describe the characteristics of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed scattered on the ground. At first, it is hidden and cannot be seen. But it will sprout and grow unknowingly, and become a fruitful tree eventually. (Mark 4:26-29; 30-34) y The Kingdom of heaven has not completely come:

Jesus’ followers tried hard to follow God’s will and be the salt and light of the world. They encouraged others to do the same as well. Yet the Kingdom of Heaven has not completely come to earth. Thus, good and evil, justice and injustice, freedom and bondage still coexist in this world.

y The Kingdom of Heaven will only be completely realised in the future:

The Kingdom of Heaven will be completely realised on earth when Jesus returns.

At that time, all people will no longer be sinful and they will follow God’s will.

All goodness on earth will then be restored. (Mark14:22-25).

References:

1. 吳羅瑜編:《聖經新辭典,上冊》,(香港:天道書樓,1997),(頁 10-11)。

2. 馬潔萍、譚美兒、廖凱怡(1994)︰《同創新天地︰基督的使命─第四冊學生

本》,(香港:宗教教育出版社),(頁 72)。

3. “Kingdom of God,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

(http://www.studylight.org/enc/isb/)

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Teacher’s References Material 2

Material 2: Jesus’ Understanding of Happy Life

Jesus’ understanding of a happy life:

y People who can enjoy happiness: the entire mankind.

y Spiritual renewal:

- To rebuild the relationship with God;

- To desire for the change of heart by God, - To act according to God’s will.

y The way to achieve happiness:

- To regard God as the centre of our life;

- To rebuild the relationship with God;

- To follow the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount;

- To believe in God’s care; love and respect others.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Teacher’s References Material 3 2-1

Material 3: Expectations of a Happy Life among Different Jewish Sects in Jesus’ Times

The Pharisees’ expectations of a happy life:

y They believed that the Jews were God’s chosen people.

y They believed that the greatest difference between the Jews and other nations was that God had revealed, in the Mosaic Law, His standards of a good life to the Jews and the Jews were the only people who were willing to follow the laws.

y Their enthusiasm for the laws made them self-centred. They despised the members of other Jewish sects and avoided contacts with the Gentiles.

y They especially opposed the Greek and Roman cultures because they considered the Gentile cultures evil and contaminative.

The Sadducees’ expectations of a happy life:

y They only accepted the Pentateuch (the Five Books of Moses, from Genesis to Deuteronomy) but not other parts of the Old Testament.

y They were serious and rigorous in their study of the law in the Pentateuch. For instance, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead described in Daniel. However, they were more tolerant than the Pharisees towards the Greek and Roman cultures.

y They believed that truth came not only from the Jews, but also other nations.

y They supported integration of different cultures, believing that the Jews would be benefited by learning other cultures.

y Since the Sadducees had the authority to appoint the priests in Jesus’ times, they were politically influential. Unfortunately, when exercising such power, they concerned more about self-interests than the interests of the entire mankind.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Teacher’s References Material 3 2-2

The Zealots’ expectations of a happy life:

y They advocated salvation through revolution, believing that violence was the only means for achieving independence.

y They revolted against the Romans and aimed at overthrowing the Roman rule.

References:

馬潔萍、譚美兒、廖凱怡 (1994)︰《同創新天地︰基督的使命─第四冊學生本》,

香港:宗教教育中心,(頁26-33)。

The Essenes’ expectations of a happy life:

y They thought the Jews at that time had forgotten the religious belief handed down from their ancestors.

y They withdrew from the society and lived in a secluded area, like the hermits in the Middle Age, because they had recognised various unjust phenomena in the society. They abandoned the secular world to live a holy life.

y They advocated and practised celibacy. They kept the population size by recruiting new members.

y Later, they allowed marriage, but there were a set of strict rules that governed the relationship between men and women.

y They shared all their properties and resources.

y They cultivated the soul to prepare for the coming of the end of the world and the Kingdom of Heaven. They spent most of their time in studying and copying the the Old Testament.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Teacher’s References Answers Worksheet 1

Worksheet 1: Understanding of a Happy Life among Different Jewish Sects in Jesus’ Times (Suggested Answers)

Jewish Sects Understanding of a Happy Life

1. The Sadducees y People who can enjoy happiness: members of the sect

y Ways of achieving happiness: to collaborate with the foreign rulers; to maintain the power of religious and political leadership; to consolidate national and religious traditions.

2. The Pharisees y People who can enjoy happiness: the whole nation

y Ways of achieving happiness: to observe the religious laws strictly; to avoid being influenced by foreign cultures; to teach people to observe the religious laws

3. The Essenes y People who can enjoy happiness: members of the sect

y Ways of achieving happiness: to withdraw from society and live a secluded life; to live a pious and holy life, preparing for the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven

4. The Zealots y People who can enjoy happiness: the whole nation

y Ways of achieving happiness: to uphold the Jewish tradition; to fight for political independence of the nation by overthrowing the rule of the Romans

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Teacher’s References Answers Worksheet 2

Worksheet 2: Compare and Contrast Jesus’ Understanding of a Happy Life with that of the Jews (Suggested Answers)

Sadducees Pharisees Essenes Zealots Jesus happiness is

determined by the

environment/p ursued by oneself

Determined by the environment Example:

‧to

collaborate with the foreign rulers

‧to maintain the power of religious and

political leadership

‧to

consolidate national and religious traditions.

Determined by the environment Example:

‧to strictly observe the religious laws

‧to avoid being influenced by foreign cultures

‧to teach people to observe the religious laws

Determined by the environment Example:

‧to

withdraw from society and live a secluded life

‧to live a pious and holy life, preparing for the coming of the

Kingdom of Heaven

Determined by the environment Example:

‧to uphold the Jewish tradition

‧to fight for political independen ce of the nation by overthrowi ng the rule of the Romans

The result of personal initiative Example:

‧ to rebuild the relations hip with God

‧ to believe in God’s care and to love and respect others

Happiness is more about the effect of power and tradition/

inner spirituality

more about the effect of power and tradition Example:

political power, religious power, national and religious traditions

more about the effect of power and tradition Example:

religious laws,

religious and cultural traditions

more about inner

spirituality Example:

live a holy life

more about the effect of power and tradition Example:

fight for political independence

more about inner spirituality Example:

Spiritual renewal

Happiness is more about the interests of the

community and the nation/the entire humanity

more about the interests of the community

more about the interests of the whole nation

more about the interests of the community

more about the interests of the whole nation

more about the interests the entire humanity

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Worksheet 1

Worksheet 1: Understanding of a Happy Life among Different Jewish Sects in Jesus’ Times

Analyse Material 1. Write down the appropriate answers in the space provided.

Jewish Sects Understanding of a Happy Life 1. The Sadducees y People who can enjoy happiness:

y Ways of achieving happiness:

2. The Pharisees y People who can enjoy happiness:

y Ways of achieving happiness:

3. The Essenes y People who can enjoy happiness:

y Ways of achieving happiness:

4. The Zealots y People who can enjoy happiness:

y Ways of achieving happiness:

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Worksheet 2

Worksheet 2: Compare and Contrast Jesus’ Understanding of a Happy Life with that of the Jews

Answer the following questions. Write the appropriate answers with examples in the space provided.

Sadducees Pharisees Essenes Zealots Jesus happiness is

determined by the environmen t/pursued by oneself

Happiness is more about the effect of power and tradition/

inner spirituality

Happiness is more about the interests of the

community and the nation/the entire humanity

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Students’ References Material 1 2-1

Material 1: Political, Social and Religious Situations of the Jews in Jesus’ Times

1. Under the governance of the Gentiles for long time

1.1 Governance of the Kingdom of Persia (539-333 B.C.)

y Since 539 B.C., the Jews had been under the governance of the Kingdom of Persia. The younger and more robust Jews were captured to Persia. During that time, Zerubbabel led a band of Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple. Ezra also returned to revitalise the Law of the Jews while Nehemiah returned to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. With limited historical information, we only know that Persia allowed the Jews to keep their religion and culture. The government did not interfere too much with the Jews.

1.2 Governance of Greece (333-63 B.C.)

y In 400 B.C., Alexander the Great of the Kingdom of Macedonia raised. He conquered Palestine in 332 B.C. and immediately overturned the Kingdom of Persia. Alexander the Great

advocated the Greek culture as he wanted to unify the world. The Greek culture, therefore, started influencing the Jews.

y In 198 B.C., the Dynasty of Seleucids ruled Palestine. Antiochus IV (175-164 B.C.) ascended the throne. He insisted on making the Jews Grecized. He forbade the Jews to make offerings, circumcise, or read the Law. He put the statue of a Greek God, Zeus, in the temple and offered a pig at the altar. The Jews could not tolerate what he did and the family of Maccabbean led the Jews to rebel. After fighting for 24 years, the Jews finally gained independence in Palestine.

This battle was called the Independent War of Maccabees.

1.3 Governance of Greece (63 B.C.)

y In 63 B.C., Pompey, the Roman general, conquered Jerusalem. He killed the priest and entered the sanctuary. From that time on, the Jews had been governed by the Romans and Jerusalem had become a province of the Roman Empire.

2. Political, Social and Religious Situations of the Jews in Jesus’ Times

After the Jews had been taken captive, most people were scattered in many different places. Some were assimilated to the locals while some kept their original belief and culture. In Jesus’ times, there were 4 styles of living among the Jews:

y The Sadducees: They accepted foreign cultures and associated with the Gentile rulers. More than half of the priests were Sadducees, so they got high political status. The Sadducees were serious to their belief. They only believed in the Books of Moses and kept the rite of

purification strictly.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Students’ References Material 1 2-2

y Essenes: They were disgusted with the invading of the Greek culture, so they lived in seclusion in the desert. They followed the public-ownership policies on property in their living.

y Zealots: They opposed and attempted to use violence to overturn the Roman government so as to develop the Kingdom of God. They enthusiastically abided by the Jewish traditions and opposed using Greek in the Jewish territory.

References:

1. 吳羅瑜 (1997):《聖經新辭典,上冊》,香港:天道書樓,(頁 495-498)。

2. 鮑會園編 (1997):《聖經—新國際版研讀本》,香港:更新傳道會,(頁 1846)。

3. 馬潔萍、譚美兒、廖凱怡 (1994)︰《同創新天地︰基督的使命─第四冊學生本》,

香港:宗教教育中心,(頁26-33)。

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Students’ References Material 2

Material 2: Jesus’ Understanding of Happy Life

Jesus’ understanding of a happy life:

y People who can enjoy happiness: the entire mankind.

y Spiritual renewal:

- To rebuild the relationship with God;

- To desire for the change of heart by God, - To act according to God’s will.

y The way to achieve happiness:

- To regard God as the centre of our life;

- To rebuild the relationship with God;

- To follow the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount;

- To believe in God’s care; love and respect others.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Students’ References Material 3 2-1

Material 3: Expectations of a Happy Life among Different Jewish Sects in Jesus’ Times

The Pharisees’ expectations of a happy life:

y They believed that the Jews were God’s chosen people.

y They believed that the greatest difference between the Jews and other nations was that God had revealed, in the Mosaic Law, His standards of a good life to the Jews and the Jews were the only people who were willing to follow the laws.

y Their enthusiasm for the laws made them self-centred. They despised the members of other Jewish sects and avoided contacts with the Gentiles.

y They especially opposed the Greek and Roman cultures because they considered the Gentile cultures evil and contaminative.

The Sadducees’ expectations of a happy life:

y They only accepted the Pentateuch (the Five Books of Moses, from Genesis to Deuteronomy) but not other parts of the Old Testament.

y They were serious and rigorous in their study of the law in the Pentateuch. For instance, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead described in Daniel. However, they were more tolerant than the Pharisees towards the Greek and Roman cultures.

y They believed that truth came not only from the Jews, but also other nations.

y They supported integration of different cultures, believing that the Jews would be benefited by learning other cultures.

y Since the Sadducees had the authority to appoint the priests in Jesus’ times, they were politically influential. Unfortunately, when exercising such power, they concerned more about self-interests than the interests of the entire mankind.

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The Background of the Sermon on the Mount Students’ References Material 3 2-2

The Zealots’ expectations of a happy life:

y They advocated salvation through revolution, believing that violence was the only means for achieving independence.

y They revolted against the Romans and aimed at overthrowing the Roman rule.

Reference:

馬潔萍、譚美兒、廖凱怡 (1994)︰《同創新天地︰基督的使命─第四冊學生本》,香港:

宗教教育中心,(頁26-33)。

The Essenes’ expectations of a happy life:

y They thought the Jews at that time had forgotten the religious belief handed down from their ancestors.

y They withdrew from the society and lived in a secluded area, like the hermits in the Middle Age, because they had recognised various unjust phenomena in the society. They abandoned the secular world to live a holy life.

y They advocated and practised celibacy. They kept the population size by recruiting new members.

y Later, they allowed marriage, but there were a set of strict rules that governed the relationship between men and women.

y They shared all their properties and resources.

y They cultivated the soul to prepare for the coming of the end of the world and the Kingdom of Heaven. They spent most of their time in studying and copying the the Old Testament.

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The Beatitudes Teacher’s Guide 3-1

1. Biblical reference: Matthew 5: 3 - 12

2. Objectives:

y To learn about the Beatitudes taught by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

y To understand Jesus’ teaching that one should pursue and cultivate their religious sentiments in order to attain inner peace, contentment and true happiness.

y To look at and understand real life examples that the pursuit and cultivation of religious sentiments lead to inner peace, contentment and true happiness.

y To learn to pursue and cultivate their religious sentiments so as to attain inner peace, contentment and true happiness.

3. Teaching strategies Scriptural

Interpretations

y Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven to the people and he began by promising to grant them true happiness.

This is in line with the anticipation of the Israelites all along.

They had longed for the coming of the Messiah who would bring them salvation and blessings. However, the messages proclaimed by Jesus were radically different from that of the prevalent view.

y Jesus taught that one can achieve true happiness not by acquiring wealth, social status or academic achievements, which are changeable and easily affected by the external environment.

They cannot bring true happiness. True happiness comes from one’s pursuit of religious sentiments, which inheres moral strength, self-discipline, spiritual insights and service to others out of humility and compassion. People possessing such religious sentiments would achieve contentment and true happiness even in adverse circumstances.

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The Beatitudes Teacher’s Guide 3-2

Issue for Exploration

y How can one achieve true happiness?

Enquiry Questions y What are the contents of the Beatitudes?

y Why can the teachings of the Beatitudes bring true happiness to people?

y How can the eight religious sentiments help people face the adverse situations in Hong Kong?

Learning Activities

y Make use of concrete examples to stimulate students to think of what bring(s) true happiness. Guide students to understand the eight religious sentiments indicated in the Beatitudes.

y Ask students to study the case of Chan Tung Mui and examine how the pursuit and cultivation of the religious sentiments enable one to be optimistic and happy.

y Through discussing some current issues in Hong Kong, understand how the religious sentiments can help one face the adverse circumstances.

Key Concepts y The Kingdom of God y The Gospel

y The implication of each religious sentiment in the Beatitudes, including:

‐ be spiritually poor

‐ mourn

‐ be humble

‐ desire to do what God requires

‐ be merciful

‐ be pure in heart

‐ work for peace

‐ be persecuted because of doing what God requires Generic skills,

Values and

Attitudes involved

y Refer to the ‘Knowledge, Attitudes, Generic skills’” tables included in the corresponding activities.

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The Beatitudes Teacher’s Guide 3-3

High-order Questions

y Discuss why practising the eight religious sentiments can lead people to true happiness.

y Under what circumstances can one practise the eight religious sentiments?

y Discuss how the difficulties of cultivating the eight religious sentiments can be overcome.

Extended Activities

y Through case studies, understand how the religious sentiments can bring people true happiness.

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The Beatitudes Activity One 3-1

Activity One

Enquiry questions Generic Skills Values and attitudes What are the contents of the

Beatitudes?

Critical thinking skills, communication skills

Critical, respect for ways of life, beliefs and opinions

Teaching Steps:

1. Teacher asks students to think (1) what brings people happiness; and (2) does anything restrict us from achieving happiness:

y Teacher asks students to think: what brings people happiness? Then, teacher states four specific examples:

‐ A beautiful movie star holding a Master Degree marries a billionaire

‐ An old man in his nineties has joined the winter swim for over twenty years

‐ A computer wizard builds a fortune from scratch

‐ A young inventor, with the support of his father, wins a major technological award in the United States

y Teacher asks students to point out whom they think is the most happiest and why.

y Teacher points out: most people think that love, health, wealth or career would bring happiness.

y Teacher asks students to think further: Does anything restrict us from achieving happiness e.g.:

‐ Who would usually be easier to acquire the earthly treasures, such as love, health, wealth or career? Are those the good-looking ones and the middle-class who earn good salary?

‐ What factors (societal culture, economic cycles) may take away one’s love, health, wealth or career?

i. BBC chinese.com: “SARS impact on the Hong Kong economy leading to huge loss” (28-5-2003)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/trad/hi/newsid_2940000/newsid_2944100/2 944164.stm

ii. Wikipedia: “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS”

http: //zh.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=SARS&variant=zh-hk iii. Pray for Hong Kong: “In the days of SARS: testimonies”

http: //www.gcc.org.hk/praysars_pg7.php

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The Beatitudes Activity One 3-2

2. Teacher points out:

y In the Beatitudes, Jesus taught that one has to pursue and cultivate religious sentiments in order to achieve true happiness.

3. Teacher carries out the “Understanding the Beatitudes” activity and helps students understand the contents of the Beatitudes. Examine the religious sentiments which bring us true happiness.

y Teacher asks students to read Mt. 5: 3-10.

y Teacher distributes “Students’ Reference: Material 1” (The Contents of the

Beatitudes) or shows “PowerPoint 1” (The Contents of the Beatitudes). Explain in details the implication of each religious sentiment in the Beatitudes.Teacher asks students to form groups of four and hands out “Worksheet 1” (The Eight Religious Sentiments). Let students learn about the characteristics of the eight religious sentiments.

y Teacher discusses the questions on the Worksheet with students:

‐ What kind of personalities do people in Hong Kong highly praise?

‐ What are the characteristics of the eight religious sentiments preached by Jesus?

Do they benefit oneself or the others?

y Teacher asks each group to present their ideas.

4. Teacher carries out “The Expression of the Eight Religious Sentiments” activity with students and helps consolidate their understanding of the eight religious

sentiments.

y Teacher distributes “Worksheet 2” (The Expression of the Eight Religious

Sentiments) to the same groups and helps students understand how one can express and put the eight religious sentiments into actions in real life.

y Teacher and students discuss the questions on the Worksheet:

‐ Pick four out of the eight religious sentiments and give a corresponding real life example. (People, events or social issues may be used as examples).

‐ Think about how these people, events or social issues benefit oneself, other people, the communities or even the whole world.

y When students finish the worksheet, teacher asks each group to present the results of their discussion.

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The Beatitudes Activity One 3-3

y Teacher may refer to examples listed in the following websites:

‐ Spiritually poor: St. Francis of Assisi who gave up his wealth and fame to pursue inner riches http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Francis_of_Assisi or http://www.stfrancishaskell.org/Flyers/Bio_of_St_Francis_of_Assisi.htm

‐ Mourn : Mr. Sun Yat-sen who overthrew the corrupt Qing Government http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Yat-sen

‐ Humble : Dr. Joanna Tse who sacrificed her life in the line of duty during the SARS crisis

http://www.joannatse.com/esite/fgbmi/revelation.php

‐ Desire to do what God requires: Mr. Robert Morrison who set his mind to bring the Gospel to China

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Morrison_%28missionary%29

‐ Merciful : Dr. Lian Jia-en who serves in Africa

http://en.yunlin.gov.tw/index3/en/03Bulletin/03Bulletin_01_01.asp?id=116 or http: //africare.fhl.net/ (in Chinese)

‐ Pure in heart : J.S. Bach who dedicated his life to God through music http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~tas3/wtc/sdg.html

‐ Work for peace: Mr. Mandela who served as the first black president of South Africa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

‐ Persecuted because of doing what God requires: Justin, the Martyr http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=74

5. Teacher summarises:

y Jesus made use of the Beatitudes to exhort people to cultivate religious sentiments in order to achieve true happiness.

y Religious sentiments are different from the personal qualities that are highly praised in modern societies. The religious sentiments taught by Jesus are not only good for us, but for the others, the communities and the whole world.

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The Beatitudes Activity Two 2-1

Activity Two

Enquiry Questions Generic Skills Values and Attitudes Why can the teachings of the

Beatitudes bring true happiness to people?

Investigative skills, critical thinking skills

Principles of morality, self-cultivation

Teaching Steps:

1. Teacher raises the question:

y Jesus made use of the Beatitudes to exhort people to cultivate religious sentiments in order to achieve true happiness. How do these religious sentiments lead us to true happiness?

2. Teacher carries out the “Religious Sentiments and Happy Life” activity with students. Help them understand that if one pursues and cultivates religious sentiments, one can attain inner peace, contentment and true happiness despite of adverse

circumstances.

y Teacher shows PowerPoint 2 (A “Happy” life) to introduce the life of the handicapped artist Chan Tung-mui.

y Teacher asks students to form groups of four, hands out Worksheet 3 (A “Happy” life) and explores the relationship between happiness and the religious sentiments taught by Jesus.

y Teacher discusses the questions on the Worksheet with the students:

‐ What kind of situation did the protagonist find herself in? How would you comment on such a situation?

‐ If you find yourself in such a situation, how would you feel?

‐ How did the protagonist view the adverse situation?

‐ Which religious sentiments taught by Jesus did the protagonist possess, so that she could still enjoy true happiness when facing adverse circumstances?

‐ Why could the protagonist be content and joyous despite the adverse situation?

Why was she still able to do things that benefit herself, others and the community?

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The Beatitudes Activity Two 2-2

‐ Teacher hands out Students’ Reference: Material 2 (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and guides students to think about which level of needs would the religious sentiments fulfill, so that they can do things that are beneficial to both oneself and others?

‐ From the case study, what is the relationship between religious sentiments and a happy life?

y When the students finish the worksheet, teacher asks each group to present the results of their discussion.

3. Teacher plays PowerPoint 3 (Comparison between the Beatitudes and Secular Happiness) and points out:

y When one pursues and cultivates the religious sentiments taught by Jesus, one can attain inner peace despite the adverse circumstances. In addition, one can understand the circumstances from a positive angle and view them as aids for personal growth.

One would attain contentment and joy, and is able to do things that benefit oneself, others and the community.

y When one lives in this way, one has self-actualised and his/her existence becomes meaningful. This is a truly happy life.

y The attraction of such happiness: it does not depend on chances, not constrained by the environment and it will not be taken away by anyone.

4. Teacher hands out Students’ Reference: Material 3 (Comparison between the Beatitudes and Secular Happiness)

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The Beatitudes Activity Three 2-1

Activity Three

Enquiry Questions Generic skills Values and Attitudes How can the eight religious sentiments

help people face the adverse situations in Hong Kong?

Investigative skills, critical thinking skills

Principles of morality, self-cultivation

Teaching Steps:

1. Teacher raises question:

y How can the eight religious sentiments help people face the adverse situations in Hong Kong?

2. Teacher carries out the “Eight Kinds of Happiness” activity with students. Help students understand that the eight religious sentiments enable one to be content and joyful even in face of adverse circumstances.

y Teacher asks students to form groups of four and hands out “Worksheet 4” (Eight Kinds of “Happiness”). The students will explore the eight religious sentiments and examine how the sentiments can help people face adverse circumstances. Ask students to give corresponding examples.

y Teacher can use the following questions to guide students:

‐ What circumstances are considered adverse that may lead to the loss of contentment and joy? (Teacher can refer to the following websites) i. Bound by materialism, empty in the heart:

Mingpao news “Shopaholic guilty of fraudulent use of stolen credit cards sentenced to community service” (8-1-2007)

http://www.mpinews.com/htm/INews/20070108/gb11101w.htm (in Chinese)

ii. Crimes rampant in society:

Hong Kong Police website: Comparison of 2007 (Jan - Jun) and 2006 (Jan - Jun) Crime Situation

http://www.police.gov.hk/hkp-text/english/statistics/compare06.htm iii. Violence rampant in society:

“Stop Violence against Women” (13-4-2007)

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The Beatitudes Activity Three 2-2

http://www.amnesty.org.hk/html/modules/magazine/project.php?categoryi d=55

iv. No justice in society:

“Shock over corruption tag”

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?we_cat=4&art_id=2908 8&sid=10298583&con_type=1&d_str=20061010

v. Much poverty in society:

End Child Poverty

http://www.hkcss.org.hk/cb4/ecp/

vi. Fraud rampant in society:

Yahoo.com news “Exam cheat gets knuckles rapped” (4-9-2006)

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=11&art_id=4099 3&sid=12842896&con_type=1

vii. Conflicts rampant in the world:

“Iraq humanitarian crisis”

http://www.ifrc.org/WHAT/disasters/response/iraq.asp viii. Inequality rampant in society:

Information Technology and Poverty

http://www.singpao.com/20060814/local/865682.html

‐ When you face one of the above adverse circumstances, what can be done to benefit oneself, others and the community?

y When the students finish discussing, teacher asks each group to present their ideas.

3. Teacher further discusses with students on the practicability of the religious sentiments in the Beatitudes:

y Out of the eight religious sentiments, which are easier to practise and which are more difficult to do so? Why?

y What are the difficulties when practising the eight religious sentiments?

y How can you overcome the difficulties? e.g.: Whom would you ask to support you?

(Teacher may ask the groups to suggest plans for practicing the religious sentiments.

Then each group will present.)

4. Teacher may encourage students to carry out their proposed plans during the week and report their experiences and reflections in the next lesson.

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The Beatitudes Extended Activities

Extended Activities:

1. Teacher carries out the “Models of happy life” activity with students and helps them understand their own view of happiness through exploring the life of a specific person.

y Asks students to identify one or more public figures that they think have happy life, and gather interviews and reports about these people. (If students have chosen more than one public figure, teacher may ask them to photocopy the following table).

y Students may refer to the following websites:

‐ http: //celebrity.50g.com/htmlpage/list.htm

y Ask students to analyse which religious sentiments the public figures have practised by referring to the following table:

The religious sentiments in the Beatitudes

Has the person practised the sentiment?

(if yes, please put

“9“ in the blank)

The difficulty of practicing the sentiment

(fill in number 1 to 5; 1: the easiest, 5:

the most difficult)

The level of

happiness attained by that public figure (fill in number 1 to 5;

1: the easiest, 5: the most difficult) 1. Spiritually poor

2. Mourn 3. Humble 4. Desire to do what

God requires

5. Merciful 6. Pure in heart

7. Work for peace 8. Persecuted

because of doing what God requires

2. Teacher asks students to think about the following questions:

i. Think about how the public figure practises the “religious sentiments” and evaluate if there are things about him/her that we should model on.

ii. Are the “religious sentiments” the key to happiness?

3. Teacher may ask students to share the results of their research in the next lesson.

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The Beatitudes Teacher’s References Material 1 2-1

Material 1: The contents of the Beatitudes

1. The first happiness: be spiritually poor

Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them! (Matthew 5:3)

Explanation of the text: Happy are those who know themselves being spiritually poor and weak in strength. They will trust God wholeheartedly and have the essential qualification to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

2. The second happiness: mourn

Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them! (Matthew5:4)

Explanation of the text: Happy are those who mourn for the world’s suffering and for their own sins. Those who are in grief and penitence will find salvation from Jesus and comfort from God.

3. The third happiness: be humble

Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised! (Matthew 5:5)

Explanation of the text: Be humble means be friendly towards others. When one is able to control their impulses and desires and treat others with gentleness, he/she relies on God’s guidance. They will certainly be rewarded in the Kingdom of Heaven.

4. The fourth happiness: desire to do what God requires

Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully! (Matthew 5:6)

Explanation of the text: Those who earnestly desire to see peace and justice in every part of the world and God’s teaching being practised, are people who have justice in their hearts. Their hearts will certainly be satisfied by God.

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The Beatitudes Teacher’s References Material 1 2-2

5. The fifth happiness: be merciful to others

Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will be merciful to them! (Matthew 5:7)

Explanation of the text: Being merciful to others means not just being sympathetic. It means putting oneself in others’ shoes, having a deep understanding for others’

circumstances and feelings, and showing concern and acceptance. Those who treat others in this way will be treated by God in the same way.

6. The sixth happiness: be pure in heart

Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God! (Matthew 5:8)

Explanation of the text: Those who are pure in heart and do everything with a pure motive will see God, because God loves to see us treating others and things with this attitude.

7. The seventh happiness: work for peace

Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children! (Matthew5:9) Explanation of the text: Happy are those who treasure good relationship among people and try their best maintaining peace. Such people are doing the same kind of work as God, and therefore are called God’s children.

8. The eighth happiness: be persecuted for doing what God requires

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them! (Matthew 5:10)

Explanation of the text: Those who follow Christ and become his disciples and are therefore insulted, persecuted and libeled against will certainly be rewarded by God in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Reference:

Barclay, William (1956). The Gospel of Matthew. Vol. I Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press.

pp.82-114.

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The Beatitudes Teacher’s References Material 2

Material 2: The Comparison between the Beatitudes and Secular Happiness

Compare and contrast the Beatitudes taught by Jesus and secular happiness.

The Beatitudes taught by Jesus

Secular happiness

1. Definition The word “happy” used in the Beatitudes was a very special word. It came from the Greek word makarios, which was specifically used to describe God in Christianity, a divine and godly joy.

The English word “happiness” has its own meanings. Its radical “hap”

means “chances”.

2. Relationship to circumstances

Joy that is clear, peaceful, unperturbed and

self-content. It is totally unaffected by any changes in life. It is a kind of untainted and undisturbed joy.

Secular happiness depends on chances and changes in life, and on things that life may grant or destroy.

3. State of existence The joy discussed in the Beatitudes is a joy that remains even after much pain, grief and loss.

Suffering and misery cannot interrupt the joy, even life and death are not able to take it away.

We can achieve and lose happiness easily. The transfer of wealth, the loss of health, the failure of plans, the shattering of ambition or even the change in climate can all take away the capricious happiness.

When the possessions that bring happiness are gone, the

corresponding happiness will also be gone.

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The Beatitudes Worksheet 1

Worksheet 1:The eight religious sentiments

1. What personalities are highly praised by people in Hong Kong? Please write down your opinions.

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

2. What are the characteristics of the eight religious sentiments? Do they benefit oneself, benefit the others, or benefit both? Please circle your opinions in the following.

y “Self-benefiting”: the sentiment benefits oneself (as denoted by numbers 1-5: 1 means the least beneficial; 5 means the most beneficial)

y “Others-benefiting”: the sentiment benefits one’s family, friends, the community or even the whole world (as denoted by numbers 1-5: 1 means the least beneficial; 5 means the most beneficial)

“Self-benefiting” “Others-benefiting” Your opinion 1. Spiritually poor 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

2. Mourn 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

3. Humble 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

4. Desire to do what God requires

1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

5. Merciful 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

6. Pure in heart 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

7. Work for peace 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 8. Persecuted

because of doing what God requires

1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

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The Beatitudes Worksheet 2

Worksheet 2: The expression of the eight religious sentiments

1. Pick four out of the eight religious sentiments and give a corresponding real life example to each of them. (You may use people, events or social issues as examples).

2. Think about how these people, events or social issues benefit oneself, others, the community or even the whole world.

Corresponding real life examples (people, events or social issues)

How these people, events or social issues benefit oneself, others, the community or even the whole world Spiritually poor Example: If one has the

awareness of being spiritually poor, he/she prays often and studies the Word of God diligently.

Mourn

Humble

Desire to do what God requires Merciful

Pure in heart

Work for peace

Persecuted

because of doing

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The Beatitudes Worksheet 3 2-1

Worksheet 3: A “happy” life

1. What kind of situation did the protagonist of the case study find herself in? How would you comment on such a situation?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

2. If you find yourself in such a situation, how would you feel?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

3. From what angle did the protagonist view these adverse circumstances?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

4. Which religious sentiments did the protagonist of the case study possess, so that she could still attain inner peace, be content and enjoy true happiness when facing adverse circumstances?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

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The Beatitudes Worksheet 3 2-2

5. Why was the protagonist content and joyous despite the adverse circumstances? Why was she still able to do things that benefited herself, others and the community?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

6. According to The Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which level of needs would the religious sentiments fulfill, so that you can do things that are beneficial to both oneself and others?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

7. From the case study, what is the relationship between religious sentiments and a happy life?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

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The Beatitudes Worksheet 4

Worksheet 4: Eight kinds of “Happiness”

1. How can the eight religious sentiments help people face the adverse situations in Hong Kong? Please put down corresponding examples in the following blanks.

Eight good characters Corresponding examples

Spiritually poor Example: When one faces materialistic temptations, one loses self-control.

Mourn

Humble

Desire to do what God requires

Merciful

Pure in heart

Work for peace

Persecuted because of doing what God requires

2. When you face one of the above adverse circumstances, what can you do to benefit yourself, others and the community?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

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The Beatitudes Students’ References Material 1 2-1

Material 1: The contents of the Beatitudes

1. The first happiness: be spiritually poor

Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them! (Matthew 5:3)

Explanation of the text: Happy are those who know themselves being spiritually poor and weak in strength. They will trust God wholeheartedly and have the essential qualification to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

2. The second happiness: mourn

Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them! (Matthew5:4)

Explanation of the text: Happy are those who mourn for the world’s suffering and for their own sins. Those who are in grief and penitence will find salvation from Jesus and comfort from God.

3. The third happiness: be humble

Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised! (Matthew 5:5)

Explanation of the text: Be humble means be friendly towards others. When one is able to control their impulses and desires and treat others with gentleness, he/she relies on God’s guidance. They will certainly be rewarded in the Kingdom of Heaven.

4. The fourth happiness: desire to do what God requires

Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully! (Matthew 5:6)

Explanation of the text: Those who earnestly desire to see peace and justice in every part of the world and God’s teaching being practised, are people who have justice in their hearts. Their hearts will certainly be satisfied by God.

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The Beatitudes Students’ References Material 1 2-2

5. The fifth happiness: be merciful to others

Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will be merciful to them! (Matthew 5:7)

Explanation of the text: Being merciful to others means not just being sympathetic. It means putting oneself in others’ shoes, having a deep understanding for others’

circumstances and feelings, and showing concern and acceptance. Those who treat others in this way will be treated by God in the same way.

6. The sixth happiness: be pure in heart

Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God! (Matthew 5:8)

Explanation of the text: Those who are pure in heart and do everything with a pure motive will see God, because God loves to see us treating others and things with this attitude.

7. The seventh happiness: work for peace

Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children! (Matthew5:9) Explanation of the text: Happy are those who treasure good relationship among people and try their best maintaining peace. Such people are doing the same kind of work as God, and therefore are called God’s children.

8. The eighth happiness: be persecuted for doing what God requires

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them! (Matthew 5:10)

Explanation of the text: Those who follow Christ and become his disciples and are therefore insulted, persecuted and libeled against will certainly be rewarded by God in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Reference:

Barclay, William (1956). The Gospel of Matthew. Vol. I Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press.

pp. 82-114.

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The Beatitudes Students’ References Material 2

Material 2: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

1. Physiological needs (e.g. food, water, air, sleep, sex)

2. Safety needs

(e.g. security of body, health, employment, property) 3. Needs of love and belonging (e.g. having a supportive and communicative family, love, friendship)

5. Needs for self-actualisation

6. Needs for self-transcendence

e.g. going beyond one’s ego, satisfying one’s spiritual needs

e.g. striving to be the best, appreciating life

4. Needs for esteem

(e.g. self-confidence, self-respect, dignity, achievements, respect by others)

Figure

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References

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