Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
Meekness is not weakness. We often think of someone who is meek as someone who is naive or a pushover. We imagine depictions of half-forgotten servants in old Hollywood movies or peasants being run down by a thoughtless noble on horseback. But in reality, meekness is a simple state mind and way of carrying oneself that is gentle and unassuming, but in reality shows rock-solid trust in our Savior.
In America, for some reason, we seem to like a person full of bluster. We perceive it as strength. We think it shows confidence and leadership potential. But most of the time it’s an act. Either the person lacks confidence, or the person lacks humility to realize their in over their heads. Either way, it’s bad. Neither trying to fool others or fool oneself are qualities indicative of true leadership.
No wonder Jesus is happy to make those who are meek heirs. Not merely because they’ve been passed over by the pushy, bullied by the brash…but because the meek who love our Lord show such a deep trust that they don’t have to be anxious. They don’t fear being out of control because they rely on the One who’s fully in control.
This past week, I confess, I have been tempted to leave winsome witness behind in the face of the urgencies of this pandemic and the fight against racism. I entertained the thought that I need to be more abrasive if I ever expect to see change in my day. Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me as you remind us all that I have the option to leave everything in your more-than-capable hands.
Omnipotent Father of mercy and grace, may I decrease so you might increase. Amen.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:4
This has been a particularly sorrowful week for our country as we’ve watched racism, brutality, reactive violence, and questionable leadership create a deep feeling of unrest on top of a non-stop pandemic. George Floyd’s family are mourning the loss of their kinsman. Business owners are mourning over losses, some even facing the grief of never being able to open again. Many are mourning over the loss of civility and rule of law as seen in the actions of some police. And of course, we should all be mourning the persistent of racism that never seems to get uprooted from our culture. There is grief enough to go around.
In the most counter-intuitive of ways, Jesus calls all of us who are grieving blessed. You might think him tone-deaf to the spirit of the moment. You might consider him Pollyanna-ish in his promise of comfort. But Jesus is only reconnecting his hearers with the long-standing refrain ever since the earliest OT prophets. God will not let human wickedness and suffering abide forever. Even our self-inflicted wounds resulting from personal sin will not keep his beloved people in chains eternally. If we bring our woes before the throne of heaven, our Loving Father is compassionate, and promises a day of restoration. And we can take heart in this promise, because God has proven himself a promise-keeping God. Just look at the Risen Christ and we’ll see our Lord is as good as his word.
Gracious Father, have mercy on me in my sorrow, and speedily bring a happy issue out of ever adversity according to your Son’s promise. Amen.
Having been moved at the last minute to speak to the racism in our country as reflected in the death of George Floyd during the service today, I still felt duty bound to record and share my original sermon as well for this Pentecost Sunday.