Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
So begins the Beatitudes, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. Many have pointed out that this is most likely not one sermon, but a series of sermons and stories shared over the couple years of ministry of Jesus. That is all well and good. It does not change the impact or trajectory of this story.
Jesus speaks of a world turned on its head. The poor in spirit will be in prominence in heaven. The hungry are filled. The peacemakers are called the children of God. This stands in sharp contrast to the thoughts of the day, which were very similar to our day. Simply put, it goes, “God helps those who help themselves.” The Beatitudes stands in sharp contrast, declaring that the world will be turned upsidedown.
Perhaps some of my readers went on Window Tour at First in OKC entitled “Hidden Symbols & The Making of Stained Glass”. If so you have seen up close and personal a depiction of the Beatitudes. It is some of the most valued and artistically significant glass in Oklahoma City, Chihuly glass included.
I have found that often in life, things of profound beauty or value often go unnoticed or unappreciated. The sunrise, the stars, mountaintop silence, the beauty of a darkened cave. These things are so often spoiled by the rush of the world. Well despite the beauty of those Beatitude windows, this falls into the same category of missed beauty. (And if you folks in Duncan think you are immune, when was the last time you gazed at the beauty of our Chapel window?)
It turns out the symbolism of Beatitude imagery must be rich, deep, almost mysterious. It has to be because it reflects Jesus’ actual words here – equally mysterious. His meaning is shrouded, and it is certain that the world will look opposite how many expect.
Christianity itself is so strange – and so rich – and so deep – and so mysterious. Even if you don’t believe that, you have to admit it is fascinating. And it just so happens that I believe. That makes this journey even more hidden and mysterious.
May the depth and richness of the Beatitudes fill your day with clarity.