We’ve been studying the Beatitudes at church on Wednesday nights. For those of you unfamiliar with the passage, here’s a memory jog:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3-10
Jesus spoke these words to his disciples and the multitudes following them around. The general line we’ve been following at church is that we can’t acquire most of these qualities on our own. Some of these – meekness (humility), mercy, purity – must be God-infused into our lives. We can certainly be sad or mournful in the natural. I also want to point out none of these are militant or strident qualities. They each imply dependence or vulnerability in some way.
We’ve been encouraged to memorize the passage as well. Since I read the New Living Translation every day, I thought I’d try it.
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth…
Not feeling it. The “God blesses” messed me up, never mind the humble instead of meek and all the other changes. It flows better in the New King James Version.
I decided I would memorize it today while running on the treadmill. Cause I’d be a captive audience, right?
Blessed are the poor in spirit…huff puff…what’s next? Oh, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What does that even mean? I want to sit on this a minute, though not literally. Ah, it’s about humility. We get our needs met from the Father and not ourselves. We need Him every hour, despite how well we might appear to be doing in the moment.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. I like this one. The Holy Spirit is our comforter. Lord, comfort all my friends who recently lost family. Meet them where they hurt.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Honestly, who wants the earth? Seems like a big burden. Oh. Maybe it means something else. It’s pouring outside now. Glad I’m in here. Meekness does not mean weakness. It means your strength got channeled somewhere. It’s harnessed, ready for use. God will give dominion over the earth to those who submit fully to him. They wait for his justice and keep control of their spirits when they might lose everything else.
Okay, p, m, m, h. I am thankful for mnemonics. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. God will right every wrong in His timing. He defends the fatherless and looks out for widows and orphans through caring people here and now.
Blessed are the…guh!…merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. I’m at 2 miles already? Woo hoo! It’s so hard to be merciful when the opportunity to retaliate presents itself. Micah 6:8 comes to mind. Lord, help!
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Boy, this memorization thing got tough. I’m gonna blame it on the treadmill. How can we ever be pure? I’ve only known a few folks who struck me as pure. I’ve got a long way to go on this one.
Blessed are the pacemakers – er, peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Well, and daughters of God. The NLT version says “children of God.” Try as I might, I’ll never be a son.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. There’s the kingdom of heaven again. And *why* do I keep hearing the same song over and over again? Ugh. Will the poor in spirit share the space with the persecuted? What’s the kingdom of heaven, anyway? It seems the two pillars of entry into the kingdom are lack of pride and persecution. So, a true Christian knows their desperation for a savior and possibly faces persecution. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die (Rev. 12:11). The Messiah’s kingdom in no way resembles earthly kingdoms. It’s a new world order, opposite world again.
Five miles. Whew! Turn off the machine going nowhere. I got it. I think I’m finally starting to understand what it means to meditate on a scripture. It really opened up to me by considering it in depth. Though I traveled a few more miles today in the physical world, it’s apparent I have a long journey ahead of me to be transformed from “glory to glory” in the spirit.