When I first started meditating on the beatitudes a few months ago, the reality that Jesus calls "blessed" that which we do not assume to be blessed hit me out of the blue. I had never seen this fact before, primarily because I had always tried to merge Jesus' blessings' list with the common way that we see blessings. (See previous post on this subject if interested.) I had never seen the beatitudes as a contrasting way of life to the common way of life that we assume to be blessed. So I comprised a list of of things that we commonly hold up as praiseworthy in our culture, so that Jesus' alternative would be more clear to me. This is what I came up with:
(Add the word "Blessed are ..." before each line.)
Poor in Spirit Those who are competent and self-reliant
Mourners Those who have what they want to make them happy now
The meek Those who know how to make things happen
Those who hunger and thirst for Those who are fulfilled with pleasures of life
The merciful Those who take care of themselves
Pure of Heart Those who look good on the outside
Peacemakers Those who win and conquer
Persecuted for Jesus' sake Those who are praised by others
I tried to identify that which we celebrate as a way of identifying that which we call blessed. This is my take from the perspective of life I have in my specific culture.
What words might you use to show how the common view of your culture stands in contrast to the vision Jesus has for blessedness?
(For part 4 in this series, click here.)