Simple doesn’t necessarily equate to easy.
That’s true in terms of words and deeds, and its especially true when we consider Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The list of attributes includes words we don’t use today: meek, poor in spirit and merciful.
Those words seem antiquated and quite out of date, but those who live them have an incredible, timeless impact.
As Rev. Joanne elaborated this week, she noted those attributes start at our heart and they spread Christ’s light throughout the rest of our life – our outlook on life and our approach to relating with others. She challenged us to take one of those at those attributes and live it.
Meek. No, it’s not being a shrinking violet. It’s being patient and not easily provoked – as opposed to selfish, greedy and easy to anger. Humility comes with it, as opposed to arrogant or haughty.
Poor in spirit. This is perhaps where words can really get in the way. The concept is simple, however: placing God and others ahead of one’s self. It’s also counter-cultural.
It sounds like the Brownie (now Ember, in Canada) law: a Brownie (now an Ember) thinks of other people before herself. Imagine if this approach caught on, how much brighter and warmer our world would be. An example of living this would be stopping to help someone, rather than rushing on with our own plans. It could be at work, or pausing to help someone at the store, rather than rushing past. It could be advocating for better services for a marginalized group – be they people with intellectual disabilities, refugees or people struggling with addiction.
Hunger and thirst for righteousness. It could mean writing a letter to the editor or to a MPP or MP – for or against a proposal – in an effort to make our community more inclusive. It can be too easy to give up and think sharing our thoughts won’t make a difference. It means sharing the light we have been given to share. Advocate for respect for our neighbours, whoever they are, and recognize we are all on the same human journey, have lots in common and need one another when the road gets tough.
So perhaps picking one of these heart-focused lessons Jesus gives us isn’t all that old-fashioned after all. They are very modern and very urban attributes. They have lasting consequences – within us and within our community. Share the Light.