The Beatitudes are short, but man, they pack a punch. I got four words into this verse, as far as “poor” and my brain skittered away from Jesus’s message to work over a word (although I think this is supposed to happen with Lectio Divina). The word in this beatitude that entrances me is “poor”.
This is America. Compared to most of the world, we’re not poor. More insidious, though, is the underlying assertion that we’re not supposed to be poor. We might be…we might be poor in any number of ways – house rich, cash poor being a fairly common one right now – but do you ever get the feeling that admitting poverty in any sense is the biggest failing?
Turn to any facet of modern media and see the exaltation of wealth. Big houses, or small houses with high end features. Luxurious recipes with expensive ingredients. Couture fashion, or knock-offs of couture fashion. Even books are now status symbols. Do you have an e-reader? An iPad? An e-reader AND an iPad? (For the record, I have an e-reader and I covet an iPad, and I mean that in the worst sense possible).
What strikes me about this beatitude is that Jesus blesses people who are poor in any sense at all. Poor in spirit, poor in reality, it doesn’t matter, because they’ve faced something I struggle with – helplessness and pride. I don’t want to admit I’m lacking, in any area. I don’t want to admit a poverty of anything. But maybe the spaces where I’m broke, or broken, are the spaces where God stands ready to fill me with grace and peace, if I can only admit my poverty.