Beatitudes

I’ve just finished preparation for leading my Mom’s Group discussion on Wednesday. We’ve been doing a study of the Gospel of Matthew and it just so happens that my day in charge has fallen on Chapter 5, the Sermon on the Mount. Seriously, we’re supposed to discuss Jesus’ most intense, beautiful and revolutionary sermon in one hour, while eating bagels? Shocking, I know.

So, as much as I’m supposed to be ready to discuss the entire chapter tomorrow, I can’t get past the Beatitudes: I love beautiful words. And I love how Jesus turns everything upside down. Or, to quote a little Tim Keller up in here, I love how in the world Jesus is making, “everything sad becomes untrue.”

In the past I’ve thought of the Beatitudes (read them here, if you’re unfamiliar) as being some sort of mysterious “to do” list. Or even a list of things I would be if I were really the woman of faith I wish I were. So, as I’ve focused on this passage this past week and attempted to memorize the Beatitudes along with The Song of Wandering Aengus (see! I haven’t forgotten!), I’ve opened up to the idea that this isn’t some other reminder of my own failures, it is Christ’s declaration that there is actually good news. The sad is coming untrue.

Is it reality in our world that the poor in spirit, the brokenhearted, the powerless, those who want to be righteous but are actually only hungry and thirsty for it, are the ones who are blessed? Hardly. It doesn’t take much awareness to recognize that those on Jesus’ list are certainly not the blessed ones. They are the world’s most tossed aside, the trampled on: the single mother without health insurance, the sex slave, the imprisoned, the moral failure who can’t forgive himself.

Which brings me back to Jesus. The question I feel like I’m continually asking myself about my faith is, “What does it mean to believe this thing?” In this case: What does it mean for me to have hope that Christ is (currently, as we speak, miraculously) turning the world upside down, making the most broken and the most vulnerable the most blessed by God? It seems impossible to believe that’s happening now, The world is not more hopeful this week than it was last. So, does that leave us only with some spacey longing for Heaven and some relief that then, someday, the broken will be made whole?

I’m choosing to believe that just as Jesus spoke of his Kingdom coming in the here and now, I can hope for a blessing for the ones Jesus speaks of in the first few verses of the Beatitudes. One of the great things about believing in mystery is that it doesn’t have to be explained. That may frustrate you; it frustrates me three-quarters of the time. But the other quarter of my life, the non thinking part, gets to ease into the idea that Jesus is good, that there is hope, and that to him, the most important person in the world right now is the least to the rest of us.

Perhaps realizing that truth is the blessing…

  • Andrea

    Micha,

    I want to say “YES!” a thousand times over when I read this post but to be honest I pretty much feel that way after all of your posts. Yours is the only blog I actually follow or subscribe to, I just haven’t really gotten into following blogs and all that, and I didn’t actually know what I was doing when I said I would subscribe to your blog. (Although I’m so glad it means I get your posts in my email!)

    Anyway, I’m in a similar stage of life w/2 young kids, in a mom’s group that listens to Tim Keller and tries to find hope and beauty in the dirty diapers of life. I’m constantly forwarding your posts to friends because it’s all the same stuff we’re talking about and wrestling with (an actual quiet time where it’s quiet? how do I have hope when (fill in the blank), do I really believe this?). So anyway, all this to say that I really enjoy and appreciate your thoughtful posts, your eloquence, and the time you take to put it all out there for us to read and consider.

    Andrea

    • http://mommymonk.wordpress.com Micha Boyett Hohorst

      Andrea, you are so kind! Thank you for reading and subscribing. (I confess I wouldn’t even know how to subscribe to my own blog. I’d probably only do it accidentally as well.) And I’m really thankful that you’re sending my posts onto friends. What a compliment!

      Thanks for making me feel good today and blessings on your attempts to find beauty in the dirty diapers…

      Micha

  • http://www.jasonboyett.com Jason Boyett

    Is it too big-brotherly (and geeky) of me to point out that Keller’s excellent “everything sad” quote is actually a quote from Tolkien’s “Return of the King”? Because the nerd in me has to clarify.

    The quote occurs when Sam the hobbit sees Gandalf. He thought the great wizard was dead, but there he is, robed in white, his face sparkling in the sunlight.

    ———

    But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”

    “A great shadow has departed,” said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land…

    ———

    One of my favorite passages in one of my favorite books. Schoolmarm out. Please continue discussing the Beatitudes.

  • http://www.jasonboyett.com Jason Boyett

    Is it too big-brotherly (and geeky) of me to point out that Keller’s excellent “everything sad” quote is actually a quote from Tolkien’s “Return of the King”? Because the nerd in me has to clarify.

    The quote occurs when Sam the hobbit sees Gandalf. He thought the great wizard was dead, but there he is, robed in white, his face sparkling in the sunlight.

    ———

    But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”

    “A great shadow has departed,” said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land…

    ———

    One of my favorite passages in one of my favorite books. Schoolmarm out. Please continue discussing the Beatitudes.

    • http://mommymonk.wordpress.com Micha Boyett Hohorst

      It is both big brotherly and geeky of you, but necessary. Thank you for straightening out my misplaced credit. Now I do remember hearing Tim Keller read that section of “Return of the King” in his sermon. If only I’d had my also geeky husband read this post before putting it up, he would have straightened me out as well. You Lord of the Rings nerds.

      Thanks, Jason!

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