Does anyone need convincing that the world isn’t working? I doubt it. Not after this past week. Jesus didn’t think the world was working either. So, like Trump, he addressed his followers. Trump, however, demanded his followers march down to the capitol and fight for him–risk their lives for him. He tells them they can’t be weak. They must be strong. He even says he will go with them, but then retreats to safety while he delights, watching on as they do his dirty work.
Jesus is different. He begins his address with “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” (Matt 5:3). I love the intentional vagueness of “poor in spirit.” The Greek word used is prochoi, meaning expendable, empty, bent over. Poor in spirit describes the person wanting to retreat to an off grid cabin in the mountains and hide for the next decade. It also describes the activist who wants to change the hearts and minds of the oppressors while working for justice on behalf of those being mistreated. Poor in spirit even describes the mistreated—the ostracized, the homeless, the hungry, and the sick. It describes those suffering injustice—those hurt by racism, sexism, ageism, religion. The list is long.
Jesus tells the poor in spirit to have hope, because “theirs is the kingdom of heaven”—the reign of God, the reign of love. Jesus didn’t choose mean, angry men dressed in hate to fight for him. He chose the poor in spirit to build the reign of God—the core value of which is love. Then Jesus, unlike Trump, led the march, putting his own life on the line, serving as an example of loving with an unconditional love. And two thousand years later, Jesus is still relevant.
If you are feeling poor in spirit, let love be your core value, the guiding light of all you do. For you are a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven!
Suggested Spiritual Practice for this week:
At the end of each day ask where you showed love,
where love was shown to you,
and make a plan for showing love tomorrow.