June 10, 2020

Matthew 5

The Poor in Spirit v. 3 – Part 2

According to the “Etymological Dictionary” the English word “bless” comes from old English, “blestsian”, “to consecrate, make holy” and the Proto-Germanic, “blouson”, to hallow with blood” — originally  to sprinkle blood on an alter. Both Latin and Greek words for “bless” indicate a “speaking well of”, or “praising”. In the Hebrew, “Barak” means “to bend the knee”, or “worship, praise, or invoke blessings”. Over time, the old English “bless” morphed into “bliss” to describe the state of someone who is blessed. So, the ancient preacher who said, “To bless is to bleed,” was not far from the mark. He, of course, was applying the meaning to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. For his part, Jesus stresses the blessedness of the poor by declaring that they are privileged citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven. The greatest earthly mansion can’t compare.

By the way, I don’t see “in spirit” as a qualifier. The fact is that poverty has a huge oppressive impact. It not only dulls the eyes, and depresses the heart, but it wounds the spirit, sometimes to the point where all hope is gone. Abject poverty, and buoyant happiness are mutually exclusive. So, when the poor cry out to their maker it’s as though their blood cries out from the earth. God’s first reflex is to respond with grace and healing. The Kingdom of Heaven awaits.

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