Though not a manuscript here are the sermon notes:
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
The success of any intervention is dependent upon the interior state of the intervener. What to make a difference in this world… turn the camera around and look at yourself.
Notice flow of these beatitudes:
Poor in spirit for their’s is the kingdom of heaven = emptiness, vulnerability
Those who mourn for they shall receive comfort = not living in denial facing loss, vulnerable
Now: the meek will inherit the earth
Hafiz (13 century Persian)
"Once a man came to me and spoke for hours about 'His great visions of God,' he felt he was having.
He asked me for confirmation, saying 'Are these wondrous dreams true?'
I replied, 'How many goats do you have?'
He looked surprised and said, 'I am speaking of sublime visions and you ask about goats?'
And I spoke again, saying, 'Yes brother -- how many do you have?'
'Well, Hafiz, I have sixty two.'
'How many rose bushes in your garden? How many children? Are your parents still alive? Do you feed the birds in winter?'
And to all he answered.
Then I said, 'You asked me if I thought your visions were true. The realness of your experience is expressed in the kindness that you show to every creature you know.'"
We might inquirer about the depth and sincerity of our own walk with God in the same way. The realness, authenticity, sincerity of our faith can be seen in ways in which we express kindness and generosity in our lives.
How did we miss this? how did right belief or orthodoxy, become the measure of our faith when throughout scripture it is right practice or orthopraxy that is the barometer of authentic faith. By you FRUIT you shall know them.
Growing body of research shows what we intuitively know and what scripture teaches. There is a strong correlation between happen happiness, well being and generosity.
This is what our beatitude points to:
Blessed are the Meek for they shall inherit the earth.
Bible study we learned two important things that help us interpret this text:
Meek (praüs) = nonviolent
Earth = land (gé ghay) = power, possessions, prestige
Land in the Bible: Israel (gradually came to see the Earth as being the Lord’s but the land is ours). WARNING over and over again not to forget!
Praüs is found two other places in Matthew and no where else in the gospels.
11:28-30 Found on the bench outside: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle (praüs) and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
21:5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble (praüs), and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Matthew tells us that “the whole city was in turmoil, asking ‘Who is this?’” (21: 10).
Michael Crosby: “The anger shown by the religious leaders at the thought that they might lose their closely guarded power, possessions, and prestige is typical of all of us who see another authority or rule as a threat rather than an invitation. When our anger arises in response to a threat, this often means we are insecure. When we are insecure we get our individual and collective “backs up”; we need to protect ourselves (as well as our institutions, their “isms,” and the ideology that have become our “way of life”). When we need to protect ourselves we make defenses to keep any threat from undermining our security. We live in fear. Consequently, when we live in fear (phobos), to that degree we have not come under the presence and reign of God.”
This “counter cultural” posture, inner attitude of Praüs opens something up in is that allows the abundance of creation flow through our lives. A choice to live from the inner stance of openness, gentleness, nonviolence, humility puts us in direct contact with the “inheritance” of God… which the real wealth our soul craves.
Those who expect to tap into or become aware of the generosity of God must be generous with their lives. “Give,” says Jesus, “and gifts will be given you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured out into your lap; for whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt out to you in return.” (Luke 6:38) If you are tight-fisted and calculating with the abundance that is already flowing into your life you constrict that very flow.
Who do you know that is a happy person? Is it true that they are also generous? And consider the reverse… those who are unhappy? We know it for ourselves.
A generous person is less vulnerable to the isolation and loneliness that seems to plague our culture. A generous heart has the natural capacity to attract or inherit blessing. The lonesomeness of contemporary life is partly due to the failure of generosity. Increasingly we complete with each other for the goods, for image, and status, building silos of isolation with thick walls of fear.
Bus driver story: Little girl brought a handful of peanuts… 3 times. Honey, you eat them.. That’s ok we just like the chocolate and we already sucked all that off.
Fear and grasping to our ideas an to our stuff is Rooted in story of separation and scarcity…
To the extent that we lean into the power of the reign of God we are no longer driven by power, prestige and possessions…
Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu writes in God Has a Dream:
"Like humility, generosity comes from seeing that everything we have and everything we accomplish comes from God's grace and God's love for us. In the African understanding of ubuntu, our humility and generosity also come from realizing that we could not be alive, nor could we accomplish anything, without the support, love, and generosity of all the people who have helped us to become the people we are today. Certainly it is from experiencing this generosity of God and the generosity of those in our life that we learn gratitude and to be generous to others.”
The great challenges of our time — globally: poverty, the environment, war — and here close to home with the challenges we face in living out our collective vision to serve this community and the world - these challenges should inspire praüs an attitude of gentle humility, but also creativity and bold action. They cry out for large-minded generosity.
This I believe is the heart of Jesus teaching:
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.