I’ve been ferreting around in the NT. As in New Testament, not Northern Territory. I would love to go back there again, when I wasn’t working and could actually take the time to really enjoy it. Considering how much I liked it when I was working, I don’t think it’ll be too difficult!
So for interest sake I thought I’d do my ‘Lost in Translation’ bit on part of the Sermon on the Mount, and see what turned up. This is where I admit that I’m doing it because it’s part of the Bible that tends to roll off me like water off a ducks back. I am not fond of the language. I don’t really understand it, actually I don’t get it at all, and I don’t get what it means to have the things that are supposed to be a blessing.
I think that the blessed are the cheesemakers bit from ‘The Life of Brian’ makes more sense to me – at least it sums up my blank brain with a lot of blinking when I try and reconcile how to explain the ‘Blessed are:’ passages to kids. (Which is what you’re supposed to be able to do if you understand something – explain it so that a 6-year-old gets it.)
I know that it’s a good bit, because Jesus said it, but what does it mean???
Ok. In order to be completely Anita, I started somewhere in the middle.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 (NIV)
So the picture I have always had of “meek” has always been of people who are doormats. The connotation this verse in the Sermon on the Mount has held for me has always been ‘blessed are those who roll over and take all kinds of garbage, because someday they’ll get a vague reward’. Meek people were people who were downtrodden or a pushover.
There is no doubt in my mind that God has a special place in His heart for the oppressed peoples in the world, no matter where they might be. However, He tends to call them ‘prisoners and captives’ and ‘the persecuted’ and other kinds of descriptors.
As I have learned more and more about the nature of God, the person of Jesus and the nature of the relationship He wants to have with us; with me; the doormat idea has sat less and less comfortably.
How can we, if we have the resurrected Christ in us, ultimately be oppressed people?
It might take us time to understand the power that this really brings with it, it might take time for our brains to catch up with the Reality of what has happened when we chose the Narrow Way. We may need work done internally to deal with imprisonments and captivations of our own and others making. We may even be in a place in the world where literal imprisoning may be a consequence of our belief in, and following of the Narrow Way. However, when we chose Christ and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, those things don’t stop the power of Christ in us being real.
As I went digging further to find out more about what others thought, I came across a piece that talked about Moses being described as meek, and Jesus talking about himself as being meek and lowly. It’s definitely worth reading. Theology Of Work “Blessed Are The Meek”
Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3 (KJV)
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:29 (KJV)
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. Matthew 21:5 (KJV)
Whoever the author is, uses the phrase “power under God’s control” which I think goes a long way to describing what the original word is trying to convey.
There is another aspect though that this leaves out. The idea of humility. I have been taught in the past that to have true humility is to understand yourself. To have a correct picture of yourself. To see yourself as God sees you. Even people who do not walk on the Narrow Way can have true humility. People who understand their strengths and weaknesses and work to manage themselves, improve themselves and interact with the wider world in a way that assists, collaborates, mentors, cooperates, and both leads and follows as is appropriate in the situation. Humility can be a parent, a teen, a CEO, an Administrative Assistant, Wait-staff, Teachers, a Politician, anyone in any situation.
I think that these two things; power under Gods’ control and the ability to see ourselves as God sees us, combined in the safety of a deeply developed relationship with God is the true expression of what the word ‘meek’ is trying to convey.
It makes more sense then, when Moses is described as meek. Because he really was a man who had a temper, broke things, murdered people, ordered people about, ran an army, and a host of other things that really don’t make him look like a doormat…
Also, Jesus, he was not afraid to tell people what He thought of them, wreck the place, cause a near riot, run around the countryside with a huge crowd, be in the public eye. If He is being described as meek, then it definitely isn’t a pushover.
Both these men, (removing for a second that Jesus is also God) had deeply developed relationships with God. Moses spent time in the Presence. Jesus also (as well as being the Presence) spent time in the Presence.