Art (c) Jim Parsons
In my congregation, we hold a weekly time of meditation and prayer on Tuesday mornings at 8:30 am. [If you are in my area, please come and join us]. This past week we did the Order for Morning Praise and Prayer, which is found on page 876 in the United Methodist Hymnal. For the scripture, I read the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-12.
I was looking for a translation that would provoke people to think about these Beatitudes in a new way. I am not a fan of the Common English’s version, which translates them as “Happy are those…” I think Happy doesn’t really get the gravitas of the Greek word ‘makarios.’ Yes, it can be translated as happy from the Greek but happy seems so weak of a word when we look at what Jesus says.
Then I realized that blessed is becoming that way too. Blessed is simply another way of saying “look how good I have it.” #blessed is seen all over social media as a way to point to great vacations, new cars, or other things of this world. We don’t see many people standing in between the police and protesters attempting to be peacemakers saying #blessed. We don’t pass a homeless man on the side of the road holding up a cardboard sign reading #blessed.
Read The Message’s version of the Beatitudes and then post something on social media that reflects these ways of being #blessed. God’s view of being blessed is upside down compared to what the world thinks it means.
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—………*
*All Scripture quotations are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
The Rev. Jim Parsons serves as pastor of Indian Trail United Methodist Church in Indian Trail, N.C. He blogs and podcasts at Adventures in Revland, from which this post is republished with the author's permission.