Yesterday was my forty-seventh birthday and it felt like my fiftieth was just around the corner. I made a very intentional, conscious, huge effort to count my blessings as if wanting to enforce a feeling of blessedness upon myself. It was such a big effort because as you know, reality and real life always happen.
As I was preparing for our church group’s bible study, I turned to Luke 6:20-26 (The sermon on the plain) which was the bible reading few Sundays ago. It was a bible study that we postponed then because, as you know life happened.
When I read that passage, it baffled me. Blessed those who are poor … and woe to those who are rich – what could this mean? I wished God would speak and explain to me all this. The passage demanded re-reading on my part. Still confused, I had to read on what some bible scholars think it means. This led me to another bible passage from Matthew 5:1-12 (The sermon on the mount) which has parallelisms with Luke’s “Sermon on the plain”.
My puzzlement about the passage’s meaning, I realised, stemmed from me thinking about what is of this world rather than what is of God. But as always, with prayer and study (research) come enlightenment.
“Blessed are the poor”, for example, is of the spirit and it is the acknowledgement that we are nothing without God; that we are wholly dependent on Him; and that He is our only life support.
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Like a beggar, we bend down in humility and as we get closer to Christ, living by His examples, we get farther away from our own foolish and self-centred ways.
Blessed those who mourn: they shall be comforted. If others and our own sins become our source of mourning, then God promises peace and comfort.
Blessed are we when we hunger, thirst and constantly seek justice. Blessed are we when we unceasingly progress in our faith and realise that other things like fame, riches or unfairly getting ahead of others, cannot ever fill us.
Blessed are those who are merciful; they shall have mercy shown them. People around us are in need of our mercy and compassion. There will be times when will be on that receiving, humbling end but we need not beg for others’ mercy and compassion. It will be given to us freely and lovingly as mercy is what we have sown to begin with.
Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God. God sees our heart, too. He knows all our impurities or our desires to purify our hearts. He knows our sins or how we seek redemption. He knows when we hate or when we love. He knows when we let ourselves succumb to worldly pleasures or when we reject them. He knows our integrity or our inconsistencies. If we are pure in heart that is our thoughts are loving as much as our actions; then we will see God.
It will definitely happen when we will be rejected and outcast for believing and living this life as Christians. Persecution is a state of blessedness, too. Blessedness or the beatitudes in Matthew’s gospel, I have come to realise is a real game-changer. It is not the blessedness that we are wont to think. it is the kind of blessedness that we have chosen to live by in order for us to see the face of God, in this life or the next.