Posts tagged beatitudes
A Gospel of Sorrow...

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5.

Jesus starts off the sermon on the mount with these two poignant statements. The heart of their message is communicated throughout his life and ministry. Yet, we painstakingly avoid our own poverty and mourning. We want to get to that blessedness without all the painfulness. Many times, faith will even be used as a method for trying to remedy or dodge our personal poverty and mourning.

A Black Mother Mary we found on a hill outside an apartment where we used to live.

One of the most endlessly relevant messages found in Jesus' life and death is that we don't have to be afraid of sorrow, poverty, or grief. Most of the chaos in life is found in our trying to escape just being sad. Just being hurt. Just feeling the lack of something we are wanting. He shows us that there's nothing to fear. We can feel sad, mournful, and poor. There's nothing to be afraid of.

If I'm more concerned with Love than I am with comfort, ease, safety, freedom, or wealth, I will find there is an abundance of comfort, ease, safety, freedom, and wealth in an Abiding Love.

1 John 4:18 helps explain this psychological feat of Jesus' in a real way, "Love will never invoke fear. Perfect love expels fear." It doesn't say that Love will never invoke sadness or pain or loss, but it will expel the fear of those things.

Am I willing to see God?

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Jesus, Matthew 5

As I have a hard time seeing God in different areas or circumstances of my life, I think of Jesus' third beatitude (above). It leads me to think that my difficulty in finding God has something to do with my being impure...which is a heavily loaded word for a guy who grew up in church.
As a kid, purity was nothing more than the absence of things (sex, drugs, rock n roll, et cetera), but God is very rarely (if ever) interested in absence. The Christian Life is about Presence. After all, "that we may have life and life more abundantly," was the purpose of Jesus' life. So, my adolescent understanding of purity was incomplete then, to say the least.

My wife Shawna looking enlightened during one of our hikes. And she is btw.

Soren Kierkegaard said, "Purity of heart is too will one thing." That's an incredibly helpful statement. It raises the question: Are my motives to see God pure?

Do I want to see God for something other than God? Maybe for my own sake? For the solution to my circumstances? My peace of mind? My self-confidence? My sense of importance? Those aren't evil or bad things, but they do complicate and multiply motivations. It is a goal of mine to simplify myself. To come down to such simplicity that I might fit through "the narrow door." In the words of Mother Teresa, "All for Jesus. All for Jesus. All for Jesus."

So, where is it difficult to see God? What is it that I am willing (wanting) to see?

Meek... Whatever that means. (Happy Earth Day!)

A butterfly that went along with me for a while on a hike.

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." Jesus, Matthew 5

Happy Earth Day! Lately, as I've been reading through the sermon on the mount, when I come across Jesus' statement above I've chuckled to myself. The statement has perplexed me for a while for a couple of reasons:
1) "Meek" is not a word that I'm incredibly familiar with. I doubt that I've ever actually heard it outside of religious gatherings.
2) What it means to "inherit the earth" is an even less familiar concept to me.

This little beatitude has been humorous to me because what I see now when I read it is, "Blessed is the one who declines to take part in the fight over land, power, and dominion, for those who are doing the fighting are all just going to kill each other. Then, after they're gone, you get it." That's kind of funny to me, in a dark humor kind of way.

It is a reality though. I see it happening nationally and internationally, but I can also see it being lived out in our homes, marriages, friendships, churches, schools, et cetera. It's a devastating condition we're in. I want to continue to learn how to put down my emotional and mental offense and defense mechanisms. I want to be meek...whatever that means.