Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Blessed are the poor in spirit,
          for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
          for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
          for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
          for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
          for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
          for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
          for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
          for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

- Matthew 5.3-10

As Jesus spoke to Israel once again gathered around the mountain, the future so overshadowed the present that what was yet to be determined the meaning of the present. The triumph of the second half of each line is not to make the first half redundant or marginal. On the contrary, it is the very yearning woven into the condition of the first half that is to be abundantly satisfied. Our desires are not ignored, replaced or marginalised by God's promise. In the light of the coming future, it is not our desires that need to go, but our fears.


Looney said...

Thanks. I read this at the right time.

Anonymous said...

The challenge is the gap in time between the first clause and the second. While we wait for justice and so forth, the delay can be excruciating.

byron smith said...

Adam - precisely. The waiting is characterised by mourning, hungering and thirsting - or as Paul says groaning. Doesn't sound like fun to me. For me, these promises don't remove the pain, but they do remove fear.

Looney - I wrote it at the right time too.

Anonymous said...

We've had a series on Romans 8 at church recently. I've always found the verses about groaning encouraging, but now I am struck by "if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." I guess it isn't really about feelings, but I sure don't feel patient!

Anonymous said...

perfect! thankyou! But the thing is I *hate* those desires. god knows I'd kill them if I could. he just won't let me (the bastard). It's always "wake up--come more alive--revel in the desires" and he just won't go away. its totally not fair for god to talk about patience using english. just totally totally not fair. Its like ... fish talking about water using english. as if there was any chance in hell we could understand or begin to approach possession.

byron smith said...

Josh Furnal: Beatitudes: opiate or adrenaline? I had never thought of the "poor in spirit" as those who in the Spirit voluntarily embrace material poverty in order to share all they have with others so that none are in need. Interesting suggestion.

byron smith said...

Jason: Aidan Nichols on the beatitudes.