Posts Tagged ‘beatitudes’

I know what you might be thinking, I don’t come here for science, politics or anything of the sort. I come here for creative ministry tips, well this is related to that. I’m not talking about the climate of the earth. I’m talking about the climate of the culture. Roseanne made some bad comments and got fired from her own show. Probably should have happened, racism is not acceptable in any circumstances, but I’m not her judge. Another high profile celebrity reportedly said worse things things to a guest on her show but will be allowed to keep working because she is on the other side of the political aisle. If the story is true, she at least had the common sense not to put out there for the world to read. I’m not her judge either and because I don’t know for sure the story is true, I won’t divulge her name.

The point is, the climate has changed. Were Don Rickles to start his career today, he would be run out of town on a rail. We can’t laugh at ourselves anymore. People are triggered by more and more things and less and less things are “sayable.” If you’re a Christian in this climate, you need to know you already have two and a half strikes against you and I don’t know that it will get a lot better. What does this mean? Should we be silent, cringing in the corner in fear. No. Instead we should be careful to say what needs to be said in love. Speaking the truth in love is more key than it has been in a long time.

Getting by without offending someone is essentially impossible in this climate, especially since we serve the One who is called a rock of offense in 1 Peter 2:8, and if people are offended by the Gospel, that’s on them, unless you are being deliberately offensive in which case, the Gospel isn’t the problem, you are. We can survive and even thrive in this climate, so long as we accept two things. First we Christians will never be universally popular and we’re becoming increasingly unpopular. No surprises there, Jesus said it would happen.

Matthew 5:11, 12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Secondly we need to make sure that we always lead with love. Jesus told us more about how to navigate this climate just before the verses above, just to prove that while this climate is changing, that is nothing new.

Matthew 5:3“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

To thrive in this climate, we just have to be all of the above.

I’m working through a sermon series right now on the Sermon on the Mount. I call it The Greatest Sermon (Series) Ever, which might seem to be odd considering the title of this post, so maybe I better explain it. I have no illusions of preaching the greatest sermon series ever. Far better people have come before, and to be even think about being the greatest in so great a company would be the extent of hubris. No, the title is just a way to pique people’s interest. In actuality, the series is based on the greatest sermon ever, preached by the greatest preacher ever, Jesus Christ. I am loving the preparation and creation of this series.

I recently preached a message on what some scholars believe to be the text for Jesus message, a passage called the Beatitudes. Beatitude means blessing and these are some of the most interesting blessings of all time. The reason for that is simple. They look completely upside down, but the things is they’re not. The beatitudes look upside down because our world is upside down.

One of the most interesting ones to me is Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. No, they’re not most interesting because they’re the only lyrics to the Overture on my favorite band Rush’s magnum opus 2112, but think about it, do we really believe the meek will inherit the earth. In our world, it’s the rich and the powerful that seem to be the most likely to succeed at inheriting this earth we live in. But Jesus says something else. He says it’s the meek and He modeled that for us, specifically when He rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey. He didn’t come with a lot of fanfare. He didn’t ride in on His white stallion. He came as a king coming in peace on the meekest, most unassuming creature imaginable. He was meek and yet He reigns.

The people expected something different. They expected Messiah to be the conquering hero and one could argue that their response changing from Hosanna on Sunday to Crucify on Friday, may be the result of their disappointment. They didn’t want a meek savior, they wanted yet another conqueror to overthrow yet another world empire and in the process they missed the real miracle that meekly stood before them.

The meek really will inherit the earth, Jesus said it and I believe in, but in the creative world, meekness seems to be no more prized than it was in Messiahs. We need to toot our own horns if we want to get ahead. We have to do as much shameless self promotion as we possibly can. It’s what people expect from us. They expect us to be outlandish, out there, and maybe even a little weird. They expect us to dance through this world saying “Hey look at me.” At the end of the day, will that really get us where we want to be. Is there room in this world for a meek, gentle Christ-like creative. I think there is, and I think maybe, just maybe, that’s what Jesus wants from us. So I thought I’d pose the question today. How would it look for us to be meek, God-honoring, God-glorifying creatives? I’d also be curious as to what you think meek creatives will inherit. Will it be the earth, with the rest of the meek, or will it be something different in the creative realm? I’ll be curious to read your comments.