I have something a little off-the-wall to share this week. (Not that that’s unusual!)
I find myself turning again and again to Jesus’ Beatitudes as recorded in Matthew 5; I find in their simple declarations of absolute Truth pretty much everything the Master was to teach and demonstrate as his ministry moved forward.
Now, some people treat the Beatitudes as a New Testament version of the Ten Commandments, and I think that misses the point. Jesus began his ministry with people who felt rejected by, or at best uncomfortable with, the religious faith and structure of their day. They had come to believe that just as there was no place for them in the kingdom of Israel, so there would be no place for them in the kingdom of God.
Jesus wants to shake them out of their spiritual stupor, to teach them that the mortal challenges that seemed to be defeating them were, in fact, Good News. Feelings of restlessness and discontent are, in Truth, a sign that an awakening has begun.
For those listening to Jesus, their discontent had nothing to do with theological concepts and everything to do with getting through a day. ‘This can’t be enough’ they were saying; and Jesus’ response was ‘You’re absolutely right. It isn’t nearly enough. And you can begin today to feel more and better expressing in your life.’ Now, I would say, he had their attention.
So the original Beatitudes are a bridge from the practical challenges of living in this dualistic world to the even more practical spiritual Truth of infinite possibility that is always available to us.
Today we move back and forth across that bridge many, many times each day. We seek, we retrieve, we return. And then we rinse and repeat. And, like Jesus’ immediate followers, we are rarely trying to answer the Big Questions of life, death and the meaning of it all. No, we’re just trying to find our car keys, remember our appointments and maybe do a little work on a few old challenges that won’t go away.
And lo, I heard a Voice (speaking English with a decidedly Aramaic accent) saying, “What part of ‘what I have done you will do’ are you not understanding here?”
And so it has come to pass that I have a few New Beatitudes to share with you—and there will be more to come. I decided to go the original set one better, and attach to each beatitude an affirmation that may help us put it to immediate use. Here are the first four.
Blessed are the absent-minded, for they are truly distracted by Spirit.
Affirmation: My mind is present but otherwise engaged. It will be with you shortly.
Blessed are the confused, for they shall eventually find clarity.
Affirmation: If I can’t remember where I put it, I probably didn’t really need it anyway.
Blessed are those adverse to Facebook. Twitter and such social media, for they are free to be left alone.
Affirmation: I AM busy enjoying a life filled with laughter, beauty and joy, which leaves me no time to share the details with everyone the planet.
Blessed are the opinionated, for they will occasionally be right.
Affirmation: My gift of divine discernment recognizes the Good in your opinions, and lovingly dissolves all the wrong perceptions that prevent you from agreeing with me.
So that’s a start. I’ll be adding more as we go along. If anything occurs to you that you’d like to add, please send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’re anywhere within, oh, say 120 miles of Manchester CT this Sunday morning (May 17) at 10:00 am, please join the Spirit Expressing Gathering at our new home in the Center for Progressive Therapies, 192 Hartford Road (just off Highway 384) in Manchester CT. It’s our first Gathering in this wonderful space, and we’re eager to share it with all of you!