Seeking Better Ways
This past week I preached a sermon on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 1-12). When I was preparing my sermon, my heart seemed to hang on that first one, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." I just could not imagine feeling blessed when I am poor in spirit. To me those are the times when I feel the LEAST blessed. I decided to check other translations to see what they had to say. I came across Eugene Peterson's "The Message." Here is how he put that first Beatitude, "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule." Now it made sense!
Those moments when we have nothing left, no where left to turn, those are the moments when all there is, is God. It is in our deepest, darkest times when we are most likely to call out to our beloved Creator. Its only when we get to the point where there is nothing else to hang on to that we realize the ONLY thing there is to hang on to: God. It really is a shame that this is usually what gets us to the point where we know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that God is God. But, then again, its also a relief. Having been at the end of my rope before, I'm so grateful that the end wasn't the end. What I thought was the end was only the beginning, for me, of my understanding of this incredible, loving, steadfast God we have. It is from that 'end of my rope' moment that my life changed forever for the good. My understanding of God and God's grace has flavored my very being. My brokenness became the crack where the Light of Jesus now shines brighter than it ever could when I was closed up tight to the world.
The point of my sermon, and perhaps Jesus' sermon when he preached those Beatitudes so long ago, is this: the blessing that comes from those 'end of your rope' moments is the full knowledge of God's presence in your life AND what that now means you can DO with your life. When we become willing to place ourselves up close to all the brokenness that exists within humanity, we become more willing to share God's grace with this broken humanity. Because we know grace, when we really know it, we become willing to share that grace with others. That, I believe, might truly be the moment when the Kingdom of God is realized here on earth. When we become willing to impart that Kingdom to those who need it most.