When thinking about the SOTM, I really
think there's a lifetime of goals in those words of
Jesus. Sad to say, I haven't heard a lot of sermons or talking
about them though. We seem to zone in faster on the words of Paul
and Peter than we do Jesus, many times. Rather than seeking to
grow closer to God I think we more often pride ourselves in our
"rightness" and "tightness" with our religious group. Right out
of the chute we are at odds with a basic truth that challenges us from
His sermon - being poor in spirit.
How does that fit in to pride in religious knowledge and rightness?
I also wonder about our mourning
for the condition of folks around us. I
think there are two reasons for this. Religion has exchanged the NT
meaning of the word 'unbeliever' from an unbeliever in God to an
unbeliever in 'OUR way of doing things.' I wonder how many us actually
KNOW and/or associate with a true unbeliever?
most pretty well cloister themselves safely away from those folks. We
mourn for people who 'do church' differently than we do - we just
dismiss them. We don't try to introduce God into the lives of the folks
who don't know Him - shoot - we pride ourselves on making sure we don't
allow our lives to come into contact with theirs, so I really think
mourning aspect is non-existent in much of the religious world today.
When we get to mercy - I think that's when the
light is REALLY shown on
America's failure. I believe mercy is totally tied into poor in spirit.
I don't think it means pity - which has a flavor of looking down on
someone who is less fortunate than you are and either patting them on
the head - or maybe helping them. I think mercy is being AMONG folks
not looking down on them, one reason being that you realize you ARE
among them - and in need of mercy from others in just the same manner.
I think true mercy comes from a heart broken because you have been in a
similar situation to that person - your heart breaks for them because
you know. This is where I part company with folks who believe that God
answers prayers to keep them from the jams and woes of life - because
jams are what makes us pliable enough for Him to use us in helping
Mercy is being used up in
helping others - of course money is a part
of that - but it's not only seen there. An
example - what would be the difference in action and feeling of a
protester outside an abortion clinic - holding up a sign - yelling for
the camera - blocking the door from young girls entering vs. a quiet
young lady trying to talk to a girl who's about to enter. The young
standing outside has had an abortion, or maybe simply wrestled with the
- and she knows how the enormity of the girl's decision will plague her
the rest of her life - something that
the girl can't begin to understand in her moment of shock and grief.
knows how the girl is going to feel a year from now - 5 years from now
due to the consequences of the decision. She also knows the
hopelessness the girl is feeling, having no where to turn and no
she can raise the child. Who is showing mercy?
I don't see mercy much today - do you?
A couple of days ago I read a book and
it has a great
little story that I think shows mercy - here's part of it:
It talks about 3 types of religious
folks - the first group is those who
are pioneers and march in front of their followers, the second group is
the religious couch potatoes - they aren't there to minister but to be
"The third group are those who follow, they
are the ambulance corps of
humanity; they are the sacrificial souls that come on behind . I think
with John that these last are the most beautiful souls of all. They are
lovely in their unobtrusiveness; they do not wish to lead, choosing
rather to be in the rear; they come forward only when others are driven
backward. They want no glory from the battle, no wreath for the
victory, no honourable mention among the heroes. They seek the wounded,
the dying, the dead; they anoint for life's burial, they bring spices
for the crucified, they give the cup of cold water; they wash the
feet. They break the fall of Adam; of Magdalene. They take in Saul of
Tarsus after he becomes blind. They are attracted by defects, they are
lured by every form of helplessness.
me the trouble without the glitter, O Lord! Let others lead! I am
content to follow. Help me to serve Thee in the background! Is it not
written they that tarry at home divide the spoil? I cannot fight Thy
battles, but I can nurse Thy wounded. I cannot repel Thy foes but I can
repair Thy fortress. I cannot conduct Thy marches, but I can succor
those who have fainted by the way. Write my name amongst those who
follow Thee!" George Matheson