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Gaming the Gospels: The eight Beatitudes

 |  17 August 2016

This game is based on the Gospel reading Matthew 5:3-10, which is known as the Sermon on the Mount, or the Beatitudes. In this reading, Jesus outlines eight categories of people who are most blessed among the people of the earth. Before you play this game, read the Beatitudes and reflect on why Jesus calls those with less, who have lost loved ones, or who are struggling, ‘blessed’. 

This game can be played in groups of three to six. A regular pack of cards (ie. a deck of 52 cards) is all that is required. The players in the circle are dealt out five cards. The other cards are placed in a pile in the middle of the group. The aim is for players to get rid of all of their cards by placing any cards that are below the number eight face-down in a separate pile (picture cards are considered more valuable than an eight). This is the ‘blessed pile’. If they don’t have any cards below the number eight, they take a card from the other pile. They can also ‘bluff’, ie. put a card with a higher value down, but that bluff might be called out by another player. If a player is caught putting down a card that’s higher than an eight, that player must take back the top three cards on the pile, including their own. If a bluff is called and it turns out the other player’s card is below eight, the player calling the bluff must take the top three cards on the pile. If there are fewer than three cards on the pile, the player just takes the cards that are there.

The game continues until one player is out of cards, or the large pile of cards is exhausted. If that happens, the player with the lowest number of cards is the winner (the blessed).

When you’re finished playing, read the Beatitudes again. How much harder is it to win this game when you’re dealt a ‘good’ hand (ie. one with higher cards)? Consider how the struggles God puts before us in life can help us become more blessed.

 

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