The Beatitudes

Saturday Reflection

31st October 2020

'Blessed are....'

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  Blessed are those who are mourn,
  for they will be comforted.
  Blessed are the meek,
  for they will inherit the earth."

.... Matthew 5:3-5

The gospel reading for tomorrow
is Matthew 5:1-5
the first part of the
greatest sermon ever preached,
The Beatitudes otherwise
known as The Sermon on the Mount.

It begins with the blessing
of experiences that fall
outside our ability to control.

These first three beatitudes
describe life in the raw,
where "running on empty"
is where we often find ourselves,
where loss is a fact of life,
where humiliation
is one of the tools used
to control people.
Jesus began his sermon
by touching upon life
as it really is.

And yet, he spoke beyond these
end of the rope,
end of the line,
end of control circumstances
in the direction of God's kingdom.
His note of blessing
was not a sugar coating
to disguise the horrible
experiences of life,
so that we can pretend them
to be something they are not.
Instead, he pointed to something better.

So often in life
we don't get to choose
what happens to us.
We do, however, get to choose
how we react to it.
We can focus upon our emptiness,
our loss, our powerlessness,
or we can choose
to see and step into
and toward that which we do possess.

Jesus didn't say "Choose to be poor,"
but rather said,
"in your poverty remember,
you possess the kingdom.
Step toward this blessing."

Jesus didn't say
"Choose to be mourners,"
but rather said,
"in your grief,
remember, the comforter is there.
Step toward this blessing."

Jesus didn't say
"Choose to be downtrodden,"
"in your meekness, remember,
the whole earth is your inheritance.
Step toward this blessing."

In other words,
things aren't always what
they appear to be.

There is blessing
in the choices we make,
in how we respond
to life's knock-backs
that disrupt and hurt.

There is so much
that could be changed,
isn't there?

We get used to things
staying the same
and forgetting that
the kingdom of God has come
when Jesus entered the world.

The problem with so many of us
is that we don't know our need
so we don't expect
to be drawn into God's presence
in unlikely places.

So let us look at our own lives,
and re-evaluate
where our blessings are.

So much is going on for us;
life happens so fast.
We are so completely bombarded
with the world's viewpoint
that everything can get skewed.

Our feelings,
our false sensitivities,
our misperceptions
can be devastating.

Let us look again
and simply trust
that nothing matters
except what God thinks of us.

If we rely on the world's picture
of who we are,
it may even look good for a while;
but that will not last.

The Quakers have a saying,
"there is that of God in each person."
Let us search for that spark,
that light with hope and love.

That's how Jesus,
in his sermon,
is calling us to live -
hungering for good,
full of mercy,
pure in heart.

With open arms,
open eyes, heads raised,
we become the salt of the earth,
the light of the world.
That's the blessing of such a choice.
May it be so for us.