The Beatitudes

Heya,

This is a poem I wrote recently as I reflected on the Beatitudes as found in Matthew 4:23-5:12. I hope these words wrap you in encouragement wherever you are.

Miriam Jessie x

 

it is a strange invitation

divine and dusty

a call to be biggest

most invested

brightest

in the secret space

to pour silently, intentionally

into what will not be seen

 

when all the world is building followers

promoting best-sellers

building platforms – virtual & physical

 

a long-ago man sits

on a quiet hillside

no stadium, or microphone, or publishing deal

and tells his friends

the real secret to

blessing

joy

abundance

 

it sounds like downwardness

empty self

to be filled up – undeserved

 

it sounds like letting go

when inside and out chorus

“hold tight

no.1

self-promote”

 

it sounds like surrendering

glamour

gold

desire

 

embracing imperfect contentment

striving no more

standing open hand & heart

before persecution

& embracing an enemy with a knife in his hand

 

How can this appeal?

yet, on his lips

this man of dust and divine

I am considering it

excited even

at the prospect

of throwing it all away

the

important, image, ideology

& finding myself

 

home

fulfilled

content

 

in the company of the scarred

the overlooked

the locust-eaters

and perfume pourers

 

the depressed prophets

& righteous afflicted

the children

& the poor

 

What can they possibly offer someone like me?

 

I think perhaps

they are the shining stars

whose legacy

becomes my powhiri

 

“come, we have space for you too”

 

and a nail-scarred hand,

to match a body that did not grasp

deserved glory

enfolds mine

leads me gently

says to me

“come

 

here, amidst the mess & pain

& disappointment, & affliction

here is the

very throne room

here

is kingdom come.”

 

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Truly Known

I arrived at the grounds before the boy. He and his friends were walking together from school and I stood on the far side of the grass breathing in the crisp air of autumn, soaking in its rich hues.

A gravel path lead them to the corner – boys in uniform of similar size and looks. With the sun and the distance I wasn’t sure I’d be confident when he emerged on this common pathway.

And then I saw him… smaller than my little finger in the distance and I knew it was him. Absolutely knew it, the kind of knowing that comes from 10 years of watching in the closest spaces to the furthest distance eyes can reach.

An eye trained from years of watching rather than looking.

The stride, gesture of arm, turn of body, incline of head – so deeply rooted in my knowing that I know them without realising I do.

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In that moment I heard that whisper, so clear it could have been a shout, this is the knowing I mean when I talk about the hairs of your head.

This is the knowing that says, before a word is on your tongue I know it completely.

Not a knowing of facts for shows of intelligence or power. A knowing that comes from watching a person you love so much that you drink them in, all of them. A knowing that goes beyond a general description to a knowledge of a person you carry in your bones, in your ears, eyes, taste, nose, touch.

Knowing that begins to demonstrate a measure of how much you love a person.

Not knowledge to prove your love, like favourite flowers or songs. Knowledge that is simply there because you couldn’t not have it. Because you have noticed, you have loved, you have seen – closer than skin and across the assembly hall into a squinted distance.

Let us be reminded today that we are known.

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Truly known – not as a show of omnipotence or omniscience but knowledge that comes from being so dearly loved that we are instantly and totally recognised – every part known, every part loved, precious up close and far away.

As Paul put it, ‘dearly loved.’

I watched this boy across the field as he grew large, he unaware of my presence, my joyful, heart-swell at the all familiar shape of him. I recognised him, loved him and delighted in the thought of him looking up and seeing me watching him. I held my breath for that moment when our eyes saw each other and he knew I was there.

I would be there before he realised it, and I would continue to watch after he turned to play again.

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I would be knowing him whether he was aware of it or not.

Do you remember dear heart that you are known? Not a flashy impressive I can tell you facts and surprise you knowing, a knowing that comes from Someone who has watched, noticed, seen you… always.

Included

Whilst it might be an inaccurate portrayal, I love the traditional image of the nativity.

 

The young parents gazing in wide-eyed wonder at the babe wrapped in strips surrounded with straw, the sheepish looking shepherds, the regal looking astrologers, the animals calmly giving balance to the scene.

What strikes me most though is the inclusiveness of the characters who marked the arrival of the One who came for all.

We discount ourselves too easily from the wanted ones, the ‘in crowd’, the chosen. But here, marked out by thousands of artists over the years, we are given a picture of inclusiveness.

The astrologers – foreign, wise, rich, educated, (probably) older.

The shepherds – common, poor, local, at the bottom of the society at the time.

The parents – young, middle of the road kids of their culture, under the rule and oppression of another culture.

It’s hard not to find some common ground with someone there.

Yet, at the birth all were considered welcomed guests, heralds and invited attendants, excited, terrified, wondering….

Maybe that’s something we need to catch, to be, to receive ourselves – the wonder, excitement and awe of LOVE come down.

 

Maybe we need to remember today that we are included.

No matter how on the edges, how different, how diverse our understanding, our aspirations, our experiences – we are all included.

there is room for us all in that stable 

there is room for us all at the table

Because the Word came once, for all.

So, when He returns it will be for all.

Let this inclusiveness be ever in our hearts. Let it shape our Adventing. Let us be people who see the foreign, the lowly, the rich, the poor, the educated, the uneducated, the young, the old…. let us see them all as they are, as we ourselves are – dearly loved, invited in, accepted and called to go and be the heralds of a new coming, a kingdom where all are included and loved.

Lord, as I stand and gaze at a baby in a stable may I be ever reminded, that as I am included and invited in, I am called to do likewise; to make room for the ones who are similar and dissimilar to me, to not buy in to fear, to prejudice, to inferiority or superiority. Help me to look down and see the ground we share together and to always be ready to make room on the patch I occupy for another one.