Blessed Mourning

I am tempted to comment about this post I read a couple days ago at Mir's site. I'm somewhat afraid, however, people will think I'm odd after reading my views.

But I guess if you've nibbled at all on my previous entries, you already have a clue about that.

Please understand, my reaction to feelings Mir expressed about failing to do good Christian works for her neighbors is foremost a remembrance of my own feelings regarding my failures. I'm not setting out to critique anyone's biblical understanding more than that of myself.

Okay, yada, yada, enough disclaimer.

I think I got one thing right and a few things wrong when I dealt with neighbors in distress. Like Mir and the lady whose post she references, I experienced days when a crisis situation woke me up to the needs of real people close by. People I hadn't taken the time to get to know. Or if I had paid attention, it was in a there-I've-said-hi-to-you-now-I'm-okay manner. The point is, I saw I hadn't cared enough about them; I was lacking the love of God for them. And I wanted to love them the way it says to in the Bible, to love my neighbor as myself, to be sure I didn't pass by a mangled stranger on the road.

Recognizing my lack was right and good to do. Still is.

One of the not-so-great things was to rush, arms flailing, over to that neighbor in need and thrust my wanting to love him under his nose. I cringe to remember how many times I've done so. What good, though, did it do my neighbor?

Like the apostle Peter on the mount of transfiguration, I often shouted, "Hey, let's set up shelters!" when the moment didn't call for any certain action, it just held the need to pay attention. I was and am immature, over-eager. God was and is the creator of every microsecond in the cosmos, and he kindly uses situations where his followers evidence little faith (as in baby faith) to spell out lessons we need in the air around us.

Jesus, God's son, came to give lessons. Not, I would argue, random, disconnected homilies about doing good and making life feel better. As God in human form, he spoke and demonstrated the essence of things God wanted people to know. If this is true, every message Jesus gave was but a part of the Message he had in mind and was trying to get across. Reading the Bible today, we are thousands of years distanced from ink and papyri, language and culture of the time when Jesus spoke and his disciples were given divine remembrance. It's a difficult book. We read it all too lightly.

But the Bible can be read and the meaning the authors intended can be understood. Bible scholars work hard to give us pretty good translations. Bible teachers can delve into the original languages to keep the work of interpretation in motion. I'm acquainted with some pretty fantastic ancient-languagy people. Besides taking a few classes from them, I read the Bible more carefully than I used to, concordance and Greek/Hebrew study volumes close at hand. I'm not a Bible nerd by any means. I do see a lot more cohesion in the text than I used to.

Central to the message Jesus gave, I'm seeing, is some instruction about who the people of God are--the fortunate, or blessed ones. Basically, Jesus says they're people who recognize they aren't getting it right. They're losers. In Matthew 5, the part often called the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes them as poor in spirit, mourners, meek and hungering and thirsting after righteousness. They want what's most important to have as human beings but see they don't have it (or much of it) yet. I'd say it's because of this lowliness that they are also, as the sermon goes on to say, merciful, pure in heart and peacemakers.

They're individuals who recognize, at least when prompted (and more and more, I think, as they mature) their stifling limitations and the fact that often it's hard to sort out sin from ignorance and disability. They want to overcome their lack, but as they try and fail they begin to accept how bad they can look and be. Not in a way that makes excuses but in one where the operative phrase is, "Lord, God, help me! I throw myself on your mercy."

I believe God extends his loving will to their neighbors, sometimes through them, sometimes via other avenues. It never hurts to try to help someone. But maybe it's better for me to do the thing that is just in front of me today. If I'm blogging too much (it begins to look like it tonight!) I might walk outside or feed my dog or any number of things, and God may bring me a way to do an outwardly good deed. In my heart, however, I'm striving to do good if I'm acknowledging God as my creator and teacher who alone can save me from myself.


Mirtika said…
Balance is always key. And knowing our weaknesses. I'm introverted and self-guarding, and that means I don't seek out as I used to opportunities to serve. I wouldn't want to go to an extreme and feel I had to push, push, push against my own personality to do do do.

Sometimes, we are who we are for a reason.

I think your view is well expressed and is part of the balance of the whole, my voice, Angie's, makes for a whole picture.

Deanna said…
Thanks, Mir. I tend toward sermonizing--am trying to refrain in this venue, but a PK I remain.

Dialogue is a great gift because of the balance to which it can lead. Not an easy thing, but worth attempting.

Introverts unite! (Should I say that?)

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