Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Blessings.2

"Blessed are you, who put your whole trust in God. Yours is the kingdom of heaven." -- Jesus

Most bibles label this section of Jesus' teachings "The Beatitudes".  It was his first recorded public sermon to a large crowd.  Preaching the "good news" to the poor, his self-proclaimed mission, begs the question: what was in his words and message that was "good news?"  What in it would make the poor glad?  What did it have to do with a "kingdom?"  What relevance centuries later?

All good news from heaven is of Truth.
      Truth essential to our humanity.
      Involving duty.  Responsibility.  To God.  To Others.
...and the help from heaven to perform that duty.

"There can be no good news for us men, except of uplifting love, and no one can be lifted up who will not rise. If God himself sought to raise his little ones without their consenting effort, they would drop from his foiled endeavour.
       He will carry us in his arms till we are able to walk;
       He will carry us in his arms when we are weary with walking;
       He will not carry us if we will not walk."

The good news of Jesus was just the news of the thoughts and ways of the Father in the midst of his family. He told them that the way men thought for themselves and their children was not the way God thought for himself and his children; that the kingdom of heaven was founded, and must at length show itself founded on very different principles from those of the kingdoms and families of the world, meaning by "the world" that part of the Father's family which will not be ordered by him, will not even try to obey him.

For example:
-The world's man, its great, its successful, its honorable man, is he who may have and do what he pleases, whose strength lies in money and the praise of men.

-The greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the man who is humblest and serves his fellows the most.

It is not the proud,
it is not the greedy for distinction,
it is not those who gather and hoard,
not those who lay down the law to their neighbours,
not those that condescend,
nor those that shrug the shoulder and shoot out the lip,
that have any share in the kingdom of the Father.

That kingdom has no relation with or resemblance to the kingdoms of this world, deals with no one thing that distinguishes their rulers, except to repudiate it. The Son of God will favour no smallest ambition, even in the heart of His closest companions.The kingdom of God, the refuge of the oppressed, the home of the children, will not open its gates to the most miserable who would rise above his equal in misery, who looks down on any one more miserable than himself.

The kingdom of God is the home of perfect brotherhood.
These qualities mark the freemen of the kingdom:
  • The poor,-not the men who are poor in friends, poor in influence, poor in acquirements, poor in money
  • - but those who are poor in spirit, who feel themselves poor creatures;
  • -who know nothing to be pleased with themselves for,
  • -desire nothing to make them think well of themselves
  • the beggars in spirit, 
  • the humble men of heart,
  • the unambitious (but not the unaspiring),
  • the unselfish;
  • those who never despise men,
  • and never seek their praises;
  • the lowly, who see nothing to admire in themselves,
  • therefore cannot seek to be admired of others;
  • the men who give themselves away
  • men who are aware of their own essential poverty;
  • who know that they need much to make their life worth living,
  • to make their existence a good thing,
  • to make them fit to live;
these humble ones are the poor whom the Lord calls blessed.

God is his life and his lord, that his father should be content with him must be all his care.
His brother's wellbeing is essential to his bliss and He would lift every brother to the embrace of the Father.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for they are of the same spirit as God,
        and of nature the kingdom of heaven is theirs."

adapted from George MacDonald,  The Heirs of Heaven & Earth