I know, I know. You miss your "Blessed ares." Where are those words we have come to love, we have memorized all our lives? Where are those great, poetic words of Tyndale and the King James Bible that we have loved all our lives?
And I agree with you. The King James version of the Beatitudes is beautiful and it makes my soul sing too. I just think that, if we don't take a step back and consider what these words mean, we could make a mistake. We could mistake destitution, mourning and weeping, oppression and humiliation, hunger, thirst and the yearning for justice as blessings of God. After all, isn't that what "blessed are" means?
Well, not really. You see, the word for "blessing" of God is "eulogeo" or "eulogia." It's exactly where the word "eulogy" comes from. When the New Testament writers want to indicate that God is blessing someone else, they usually use a form of one of these two words.
But in the Beatitudes, Jesus uses the word "makarios," a word that designates not "blessing" but "honor." Here, Jesus is calling us to do something -- to honor those about whom he teaches. What might it mean to honor another person?
I know what it has meant for me in PW gatherings around the U.S. It means that I have been welcomed, no matter how rumpled or road weary I might appear. It means that I have been housed and fed. Little chocolates have appeared in welcome bags in my room. I have been invited to sit at table, and my thoughts have been taken seriously. I have been made to feel a part of a wonderful, woman-led Christian movement that seeks to partner with sisters and brothers from around the world to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
I wonder what it might mean for us to treat those who are destitute -- in body or in spirit -- with this kind of honor? I wonder what it might mean for us to welcome our sisters and brothers who cannot earn a living for themselves? What might it mean for us to work together so that they might be housed and fed? How might we bend over backwards to make them feel welcome?
What do you think?