Affirming the Blessed

It has been a fair few centuries since He said it, but I wonder if the church He died for would recognise and affirm those He referred to as the blessed.

Those 8 characteristics are as counterintuitive and countercultural now as they were when He shared them with His disciples way back then. Sometimes in the bid to be people-pleasing and attractive to the eye, much is said to sell Christianity as something worthwhile because it’s like wish fulfillment, where all your wildest dreams come true and phrases about having the best in this life are appealing and gratifying, especially as they often coincide with what the world and the flesh suggest would be the best in this life – security, comfort, material benefits and happiness.

It’s jarring, then, to hear Him once more make the clarion cry that the blessed pursue something of far greater worth than security, comfort, material benefits and happiness. Indeed the blessed turn a lot of what others would deem that which truly makes us happy to that which ultimately makes us holy – not for our sake but for His Name’s Sake.

Yet how do we actively affirm what He referred to as the blessed?

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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DMCD Songs: The Beatitudes – The Edwin Hawkins Singers

Never heard this one before.  I heard it.  I’m posting it because it’s got to do with a subject that I’m still really interested in.  So check it and enjoy it for what it is worth.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

dmcd

Law & Order: Spiritual Intent – Staying Alive

You shall not murder. (Ex. 20:13)

The build up to understanding the spiritual intent behind God’s law and order has progressed in fascinating fashion.  As you look at the Ten Words there is a distinct pattern and process.  It’s understandable why the Lord who saved the people from slavery and potential ethnic cleansing would prioritise His relationship with them.  It is interesting, however that the sanctity of life in this Word comes after honouring father and mother.  Yet even here the thread of the theme can be detected.

Identity is the issue.  In the world where independence is valued highly and the ability to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps is commended any sense of relying on others maybe perceived as weakness.  On the other end of the spectrum such might be the pull of a cultural identity that it might be at the cost of any sense of who you are to conform to the requirements of the larger community.  It is not just in political philosophy that this tension is waged, but in other aspects of life when you’re involved in a group or seen as maverick who prefers to blaze your own trail.

Understanding our true source explains this issue and brings a semblance of balance when tit is the true source.  That’s why reverence for parental figures and those who have contributed to the society around you is so crucial.  Yet as discovered in the last Word the physical parentage acts as a link to the divine parentage – the divine source.  When we thus recognise that our identity is dependent on God – we are not our own, we are not the masters of our own destiny – this puts a significant spin on how we see everything else.

No wonder the first port of call in how this realisation affects how we live is life itself.  We did not bring ourselves into the world and to a large extent for all the fitness regimes we put ourselves on, mental exercises and diets sustaining life itself is not wholly down to ourselves.  It follows then that the end of life is not something that should be down to us either.  As Jesus would highlight later on, that which motivates murder requires disassociating ourselves from the godly source. In this mind-set we no longer honour the Source from whom life flows and we take it upon ourselves to exercise the ultimate end.

Right there is the key to the spiritual intent that motivates living to this Word – it is that mind that reminds ourselves that we come from God – good, bad and ugly.  As long as we are human in form the ‘made by God’ label is attached and in touching the person we touch that which God has made.  Also as Jesus pointed out this Word is not about prohibiting the physical cessation of the breathing faculties, it is about where the heart is in regard to our desire for others.  As the Word set us free and established to be His people there is a requirement that like Father like Son – if He is love then there is the deal that love should be the key component of the child and like His people.   Such a heart does not wish ill on anyone and so can do that hard thing of loving enemies and praying for those who despitefully use.  It is intrinsic to the nature and thus anathema to even consider murder.

This Word remains a powerful one in not just what it prohibits but what it promotes, what it refers to as the nature of those in a loving relationship with the One who rescued them from death.  Such is the gratitude that it looks to promote life, however hard that maybe in the most trying of circumstances.  This is not a weak and soppy cop out from exercising justice where it is required.  This is the strength of a child of God who like His father is eager to rain and shine on the just and unjust and exercise mercy even as one who is a great recipient of mercy.  It is the heartbeat of a people inches from death and given new life who want others to join them just staying alive.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

dmcd


Law & Order: Spiritual Intent – Prelude

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

So here’s the thinking.  At some point over 2008-09 as a church we looked a the theme of order out of chaos and a key issue in it was the power of the Word.  Linked to this in me own study is a desire to know God for who He is and what it is to be spiritually minded.  One of the little tidbits that I’m understanding more and more is that being made in the image of God is to appreciate our spiritual nature as created by God.  For that to happen there has to be a connection with the Creator.  Just as Paul intimates – you have to be spiritual to understand spiritual things, and that’s not a pious, snooty comment barring everyone from being spiritual.  It is understanding the essential link we have that makes us spiritual.  You can understand then the link between the thinking and the verse at the top.

On that basis, then, we appreciate a significant blockage that sin has placed in the way.   It doesn’t just change the thinking, it changes the heart’s desire and connection, as we’ll see later in this series.  To reconnect with God, Jesus comes along, shows us the way and teaches it through things like the Sermon on the Mount in the larger context of the kingdom come.  In the Beatitudes as a microcosm of the demands of Kingdom living Jesus opens up the way to be – and that requires a new intent, not our usual natural intent, which because of its heart’s desires is evil continually, but a brand new spiritual intent.  Jesus is not making commands on new behaviour grounded on nothing – He establishes as His Father did before Him that in the light of the Kingdom and the King, the subjects in the Kingdom live a particular way with a particular focus that is in great contrast to the way we are used to living.

With the mess that sin causes, once again God’s Word brings order out of chaos, not in behaviour, or belief, or belonging, but in the desires of our heart.  What follows from that is a current reflection on the issues of the heart to see if the intent is spiritual.  More to follow …

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

dmcd