Saturday, September 16, 2006

Meek and Rich?

I am thinking again about the beginning of the Beattitudes in Matthew 5. And in the airport earlier this week, I spot the Time magazine cover, which asks the question, "Does God Want You to Be Rich?"

I wonder. And again, this man and the book he wrote, helps me to see these ideas in a new way.

In these first five verses, Jesus has come to the dependent poor, the grief-stricken, and now the unaggressive – and he gives everything – the Kindgom of Heaven, comfort, and now the inheritance of the earth. Christ did not say "blessed are the Christians" or "blessed are those who believe in me, and behave like this". Just blessed are.....all those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, and who are meek.

Meekness is not so much avoiding pride, but more people who are actually powerless in the eyes of the world. These "poor beatitudes" do not so much describe good spiritualities, as they really describe people in bad situations.

Jesus at his trial as someone who was indeed meek. No aggression. Yet, poise. Poise that does not have to assert oneself. He was someone who could see Heaven, even from the gates of Hell. This was a meekness that is almighty, and gentleness of great strength.

The earth. Why the earth? This earth, will, in fact, be the scene of the coming Kingdom of God. This renewed earth. Breathtaking. God will make all things new, even this tired, sinful, overpopulated, impoverished, pock-marked, and slowly over-warming (some say) earth.

Dale Bruner asks us (and me) "Could it be that here, in the first three beatitudes, that Jesus is calling us to be willing to be abysmally poor, heartbroken, or powerless, when these desolations are visited upon us?"
Is this not a scary concept? In some way, the poor, the weary, the sad, the meek, are given first notice by Jesus; they are his Special People.
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