Passage: Matthew 5:1-2 & 5:5
5:1 When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. After he sat down his disciples came to him. 5:2 Then he began to teach them by saying:
5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Soul Search Essay
In the leadin essay, I noted the following: “[You are fortunate if you] are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.’ Meek or weak here is not an attitude, but a position of powerlessness, either due to lacking power or (and this is important) due to having power, but refusing to use it for your own ends.”
In many ways, this beatitude is the heart of Christ’s incarnation. In his choice to come to Earth, to rescue humans willing to be rescued, and to start a war where the principle weapons he used and uses are love and weakness, Christ demonstrated everything that this Beatitude means.
Yes, Jesus demonstrated power in casting out demons, but that was not his predominate method or tactic. Jesus repeatedly demonstrated not using his power and not advancing his agenda via power. The most obvious is Jesus’ submission to human governments wrongfully executing him, but there are many more subtle examples as well. One is your own life.
These essays are written for Christians. Therefore, I assume you accepted Christ rescuing you at some point in time. That is a profound example of Christ’s meekness.
Christ has no obligation to allow you to make a decision in a war fought over creation. Your rescue was designed by Jesus and YHWH before time even began. It was launched as a daring 3 year raid into enemy territory that was fully controlled by this enemy. There were no allies, no partisans. There was no front line, because there was no rear area on Earth. Every square millimeter was hostile territory.
What special forces commander has ever breached a building or plane where hostages where taken and, while under fire and taking hits asked each hostage, “Do you consent to being rescued?” Do you grasp the level of meekness required to give this level of control to the hostages by this special forces sergeant commanding the operation where bullets are flying? This level of meekness is courage to the level of absurdity. Yet that is what the sergeant known as Christ did for you…specifically you. He came on a rescue mission while leaving power behind. He gave you the choice to accept or reject rescue.
Doesn’t this level of courage require some affirmation? Isn’t this kind of courage worthy of inheriting something special? Yes. Yes! Christ is saying that going in harms way with your power set aside is worthy of inheriting Earth. Isn’t this level, Christ’s level of courage, worth imitating? Christ had power beyond anyone and anything on Earth. Yet, he set it aside to do what YHWH instructed him to do. Are we not to be imitators of Christ?
Yes, this imitation is expensive in many different ways. Just as the hypothetical sergeant pays via bullet wounds to him and his team for the privilege of saving others, so do imitators of Christ. The imitators pay these expenses in many ways. The payments are in changes from who they are to who they are becoming. The payments are made in doing hard things for others with no guarantee of success. Payments are made by reaching out to hostile hostages and giving them the opportunity to accept rescue. Doing these kinds of rescues changes you. You cannot do them and remain the same. You see and impact real horrors, real sin. Hostages are surrounded by horror and fear. Rescuers enter dangerous environments by choice; the choice to obey what seems like an idiotic plan. To breach an evil, fearful, dangerous place and then wait for the hostages to accept rescue? That is nuts! To sustain this work, to do it over and over again, endurance must come from somewhere. It comes from YHWH and Christ through the Holy Spirit to those who choose the courage of meekness. Tremendous courage is required to be meek.
These courageous Christians allow their souls and personalities to be redeemed; to be drastically changed. Ugly, putrid dreams, aspirations, intents, thoughts and emotions are replaced by what the Sergeant offers while the bullets fly. Redemption of these dreams and other putrid things within each of us is messy. Redeeming this in our own specific inner worlds is tough. Our deep involvement in redeeming these things in another’s life while redeeming our own set of internal horrors in your own internal world? That seems beyond possible.
It is in the times of our own piecemeal redeemed dreams, piecemeal redeemed thinking, etc, that the changes take hold of us and make assisting others possible. It makes it possible to breach into putrid messes in another’s life and offer redemption in the form of…meekness. These Christ imitators move to other hostages on this planet Earth and repeat the sergeant’s offer. They patch up other imitators wounded in the firefight. They offer choices to the hateful as bullets fly and hope for wise decisions by these hostages.
This beatitude is a call to arms to every person who is an actual disciple. You see, true disciples at a minimum sense the firefight around them. It may be unclear awareness; occasional moments of clarity in the presence of other’s pain. True disciples step beyond themselves and their own agendas and listen for the sergeant’s voice. Disciples listen. True disciples engage. They engage where ordered to and in the way order to engage.
Disciples remember also. They review the battle history of this sergeant and his commander via the Bible to help them anticipate enemy tactics and strategies. They also review it to strengthen their courage. There are many examples involving many different people recorded here. We need this permanent memory. It supplies the certainty that YHWH and Jesus operate in a radically counterintuitive way. (Counterintuitive means in simple farm language – bass ackwards. The common sense of “live your life for your benefit” is completely and absolutely wrong. That truth seems bass ackwards to most Western human systems of belief.) We are called to intertwine our lives with others and move forward together.
In time, as these true disciples entwine with hostages and repeatedly offer rescue, the courage of meekness dominates the lives of these disciples. Why? They choose to allow it to dominate their lives. These true disciples place their power, their status, their business, their reputation, their weath, but most of all their life agendas below the value of other people’s lives and souls. These true disciples give up who and what they are in order that others may live and become true disciples; not by these rescuing disciples dying, but by these rescuing disciples living a radically different life than they intended or even now want to live.
For that, these disciple’s inheritance is great. The inheritance is the growing capacity to be a full citizen in the Kingdom the sergeant is building with his commander. It is to inherit the battlefield called Earth.