Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
Reading: Matthew 11: 25-30
Words like meekness and gentleness run counter culture, certainly in the Western world today. They are low in people’s list of priorities, if they feature there at all. In most there is a desire to dominate, to be in control. Much of this may arise out of a deep insecurity. Not content with, or perhaps not even knowing who they really are, terrified of being seen as less than strong, taking over from other people and from God, unable to wait, to listen, to be ‘servant.’ Littleness has no value in today’s world, yet, seemingly, it has first place in God’s kingdom.
Some of the confusion arises from wrong definitions. Contrary to popular perception, meekness is not the same as being shy, or always putting oneself down, or retreating into the background or becoming a doormat! It’s about something far greater, with heart expanding, mind blowing consequences that can inspire, challenge and bless. Perhaps the word that comes nearest to describing it is humility. All of the great prophetic voices throughout the ages, including the present, have this mantle as part of their vital equipment. It is not something that can be bought or inherited, but something that is hard won as these great souls, in the knowledge of their ‘littleness’ struggle through to an intimacy with God that the rest of us can only wonder at. And this intimacy does not diminish who they are in their God given creation. I can think of Jean Vanier, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Brother Roger, Mother Teresa, Richard Rohr, Oscar Romero and many, many others who, recognising both their own littleness and the greatness of God changed, or are in the process of changing the world of their day.
Jesus indicates that when we learn from him meekness/humility then we will find rest. Where does rest come from? It comes from knowing that no matter who we are, where we’ve come from, whatever our gifts and abilities or lack of them, we are loved. In that security we can let go of the masks and the striving and rest in the knowledge that we are cherished – just as we are. Those who know themselves to be the little ones, who take upon themselves the easy yoke and the light burden of Jesus, even now receive the promise of this beatitude. They inherit the earth in the sense that they are given what could never be bought – an intimacy of relationship with him, a sense of being at home with him and of receiving his promises. From such a place of blessing we, too, could change the world of our day!
Suggestions for Sharing:
- What are the ‘heavy burdens’ you (and we as a community) need to lay down in order to find the rest that Jesus promises?
- Each person has something in their lives that has been ‘big’ for them, something that made a difference in their world, even if it seemed little to outsiders. Can you take time to share that with the group?