“Life may not look the way we imagined it and there may be areas in which we long for change and that’s ok. But if our framework sounds a little like, “When I’m rich, then I will give to charity” or, “When I have a nice house, then I’ll invite people over”, it implies that “now” is insufficient or inadequate and that is not true. It is not the way of Jesus. Jesus is whispering “I will use you in all of your life, just follow me”.
What if we had this crazy kind of faith that doesn’t let our circumstances change who God is?
What if we knew God so deeply that when our integrity is tested we choose to walk with God rather than with society.
Not so we get glory, but so that we can participate in putting the world to right, join in the invitation that God has extended to us. What if?
“Jesus teaches that caring for others, reforming society and the love of God are the most important matters in our religion. As followers of Jesus, not only we are to work for charity and reform, to be called both saint and communist as Archbishop Dom Camara would put it, but to show mercy and to do justice above and beyond religious rituals and routines.”
“Who heard a sermon about the greatest in the kingdom of heaven being those who were willing to serve others – and continued to measure their social status by income, career, profile and possessions?
Who heard a sermon about God loving everyone and who couldn’t quite extend that love to everyone?
Who heard a sermon about the church existing for the community beyond the walls but decided the internal politics or theological accuracy was far more interesting and important?”
“When we see the image of Mary mourning the death of Jesus, we also see an image of all mothers mourning the death of children lost to injustice. If the cross is a picture of all suffering and all oppression, then the resurrection become a picture of justice. If you have experienced suffering and oppression, if you have felt the wounds, then you need justice, you need the resurrection.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for trying to turn the social order upside-down. Blessed are those who are persecuted because they believe the last will be first and the first will be last.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because they associate with criminals, sex workers and drunks.”
“God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.”
– Matthew 5:8
“When Jesus referred to the ‘pure in heart’, he contrasted the idea of inner purity with the religious culture of external purity. Jesus made the point that purity wasn’t just about external religious ritual, but about how our thoughts and emotions could drive our words and actions.”
“You spun gold out of this hard life
Conjured beauty of the things left behind
Found healing where it did not belong” – Warsan Shire via Beyonce
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” Matthew 5:3
The Beatitudes are a series of teachings within the Sermon on the Mount, aspirational statements structured around wealth and poverty. The language here can be more properly translated to say ‘happy and wealthy are those who beg for what they need’.
The simplest thing we can know from this Beatitudes is this; the Kingdom of God, whether it is coming or already among us, is a better world for those that need it most.
“Where is God and what is God already doing in the world? As you start looking, you’ll start seeing. It might look different to the way you imagine but that’s the beautiful part of the Kingdom of God. It’s good news for everyone. It may just look like basketball games in the midst of cyclone destruction.”