Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More Beatitudinal Musings

Another, perhaps more conventional, grouping of the Beatitudes would seem to differentiate the first four as describing our oppression while the last five would describe our efforts.

The postures described in v. 3-6 all describe an earthly oppression derived from some lack in this world (spiritual poverty, grief, humility, desire for righteousness). These postures are never ideal by the world's standards, as they involve pain, a lack of happiness and comfort, which one perceives to be the goal of life by mere observation. Christ describes these folks as blessed, however, because in this earthly oppression, one finds the spiritual freedom of blessedness, defined here simply as the reality of God's presence.

The postures described in v. 7-12 all describe efforts one makes in pursuing righteousness (offering mercy, being pure, working for peace, standing amidst persecution, again refusing to bend when persecuted). Christ describes these folks as blessed because they aim to pursue righteousness, to do that which God commands them to do. In their efforts to serve and please God, they become blessed by the reality of his presence in their actions.

One could then conclude from this that God's presence follows us regardless of circumstance. Whether his people find themselves in times of godly dissatisfaction or in times of Kingdom work (and perhaps all times in between?), Jesus has called them blessed, that is living with the reality and knowledge of God's presence in their lives.

Perhaps the Beatitudes simply reveal the truth that God's presense and work in the lives of His people is not chained to circumstance.

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