This week, we are looking at the Beatitudes, which is one of Jesus' most famous teaching. In it he tells groups of people that they are blessed for the mess that they are going through. More specifically he says stuff like Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the Earth or blessed are those who mourn for they for they will be comforted. As we saw last week, translating New Testament Greek into English is not a perfect science. This is the same this week, when we look at the Greek word makarios the NRSV translates this verb as blessing. A better translation would be happy or happier. So if we look a the two verses I have previously quoted we would read Happy are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth, or Happy are those who mourn for they will be comforted. So what gives? How are we to be happy in the midst of our suffering?
I think there are two points for us to consider, with this teaching. The first is that we as God's people need to take the long view on the sufferings in our life. We are suffering, but this suffering is not the final note or final chapter but that God's Grace, Mercy, and Love win in the end. So this knowledge helps us to move through our suffering knowing that it may be long but it is not final. The second is best explained by Gerald Liu Assistant Professor at Princeton Theological Seminary "As peculiar as the promises of happiness seem in the Beatitudes, they seem to rest in part upon the ability of the followers of Jesus to attend to the wounds of the world with the saltiness of God, to illuminate a way forward in impossible circumstances with divine light, and to do those things as if it’s just us being who we are. Like it’s second nature." So we don't let others suffer alone, we come and walk alongside them, because that is what we are called to do.
So how do you feel about this call to be Happy in the midst of your suffering? What does that look like in your life? Is it helping out a friend or family member who is struggling right now? Is it getting other Christians to help alongside you? What does the grace, love, and mercy of God look like when it is stretched over your suffering?
The video I am including this week is the song Happy. How do you feel this fits the Message from Jesus? How do you think it misses the mark? Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think.
Pastor Paul. I hope you find these reflections insightful and help you in your faith journey!