A personal reflection and prayerful meditation based on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5.1-12) on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017.
This day, O God, I give You all praise and thanks that, through (yea, only through) the prevailing power of Your Spirit, I, day by day, more and more, know myself to be:
Poor in spirit, accepting (finally!) all that I am – my strengths and weaknesses, my wealth and want – and, in my acceptance, believing, knowing that I am not (never!) in control, and believing, knowing that You are God and I am not (ever!).
Mournful. Not melancholy, bemoaning all things (though, You know, O God, that I am a practiced, even professional complainer!), but rather caring for others; even more, knowing how much and often that I, in my brokenness, grieve others; still more, knowing how much and often I need forgiveness.
Meek; not spineless, but courageous with righteous anger, O God, about all hatred and injustice that grieves Your Spirit.
Hungry and thirsty for righteousness; insatiably desiring right relationship with You, O God, and all others You have made, including myself.
Merciful; settling for no safe-distance-sympathy and suffering no passing-moment-pity, but rather being responsible, response-able to others, striving to see through their eyes, seeking to be as they are, even, especially those most unlike me.
Pure of heart; single in purpose; wanting, willing one thing: to see You, to know You, beholding Your ever-unfolding revelation of Your Self and the meaning of life – that of the world and mine.
Peacemaking; though taking no pleasure in the dis-ease of conflict, quailing not from engaging it; striving to understand all points of view, even, especially those with which I disagree; mindful of our common dignity as Your creations and our common destiny to dwell in Your peace that passeth our understanding or to destroy and die in our divisions…
(and knowing, believing, O God, Jesus’ teaching to be no multiple-choice, but rather an all-inclusive list; accepting, embracing the last and, for me, hardest of all)
Persecuted; willing to sacrifice my comfort and convenience, yea, my well-being for the sake of standing in commitment to You and Your kingdom.
For all this and more than I can know and name, on this Thanksgiving Day and day by day, in the words of a song, I: Thank You, Lord, I just want to thank You, Lord. Amen.
Illustration: The Sermon of the Beatitudes (La sermon des béatitudes) (1886), James Tissot (1836-1902)