Thursday, April 02, 2009

Gravity of Familiarity

What is familiar often goes unnoticed.  We can tend to take for granted those things that are most commonly present to us.  Blemishes and annoyances that may be very irritating at first can even fade into oblivion with time.  And sometimes, the same can happen with certain passages of the Bible.  Even the words of Jesus can become so familiar that we stop noticing what He really said.

Matthew 5 begins a section of Scripture that is, and should be, very familiar to most in the church - and even many outside it.  But as I was reading this morning, it struck me that these words were so familiar that I was reading without even thinking about what I was reading.  I wanted to do something to slow myself down and really notice what Jesus was saying, so I inverted the sentence structure within the passage - escaping the traditional cadence of "Blessed are those who... for they shall...".

When I was able to shed the weight caused by the gravity of familiarity, I noticed again how revolutionary Jesus' words really are.  Everything he said in this passage we religiously refer to as "The Beatitudes" (whatever that means), shakes the very foundation of worldviews throughout time and place.  He turned value systems upside down.  If you'll allow me a little license, here is a look at the passage from a less familiar angle:

The kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in Spirit.
Comfort will be given to those who mourn.
The earth will be inherited by the meek.
Fulfillment will be given to those who insatiably seek righteousness.
Mercy will be shown to the merciful.
God will be seen by the pure in heart.
Children of God is the name given to the peacemakers.
The kingdom of heaven belongs to the persecuted righteous.

Pain inflicted on us because we align our lives with Jesus will result in great reward in heaven.

The reward really is great to those who live according to the worldview that Jesus offers in this passage.  Let's slow down and notice how these values can be fleshed out in our lives...

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