19th MARCH

Freedom for the poor

Matthew 5: 3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I often wonder what was going through the minds of the people listening to Jesus as he shared his thoughts on the blessings of the kingdom.  I wonder how many might have been scratching their heads asking such questions as, how can you blessed if you’re poor?  How can you be blessed if you are mourning?  What is this man talking about?

Right at the start of the next few studies it is crucial to understand that Jesus is not saying that we are fortunate when we are poor or mourning or facing any kind of challenge.  We are fortunate because we have someone who endured what we endure and can get us through.  His example demonstrates that we can overcome and his presence gives us the means to do so.

Those who are “poor in spirit” are not blessed in being poor per se, but that combination of recognising poverty and seeing a way out of it through faith and by faith is what is a real blessing.  In Ayrshire a want was something that was missing e.g. “Geordie’s Want” in Irvine was a space between buildings and was given the name because it was a space wanting a building in it!

Recognising spiritual bankruptcy, a God sized gap in our lives, is the beginning of finding a way forward in our lives.  It is an emptiness and with it a longing.  It is that point in our lives when we are searching:  searching at times for that elusive happiness or blessedness.

There are times in life when we have itchy feet and just don’t know whether we should take a different path.  There are circumstances when we are restless and we are just cannot settle.  Augustinians (an order founded on the teachings and example of St Augustine) see restlessness as no bad thing because it is a desire to be both filled and fulfilled. We try different avenues.  We look to different people and in different directions.  It is only when we truly find God as a reality in our lives do we start to feel filled and fulfilled.  St Augustine wrote in his “Confessions”, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”   We can ignore it.  We can try to suppress it.  Yet, it never ever goes away as God has made us in his image he has also made us for friendship and fellowship with him.

  • Have you ever had itchy feet or just get restless?  What causes it and how do you overcome it?  What does it mean to you to find fulfilment in a relationship with God?

Lord,

when unsettled, settle us with your peace,

when unsure of the direction, guide us by your word,

when we feel that we have new purpose, take us and use us.

AMEN.