Beatitudes: a call to let go
Do you find it easy to 'let go'? Many of us cling to certain things or attitudes, even though in the wider perspective they are unimportant or even wrong. By 'wrong' I mean destructive rather than life-enhancing. I think I often don't realize what those things are for me until they are threatened or taken away.
During a recent retreat in Galilee I spent time alone in a shady place on the Mount of Beatitudes, the hill traditionally associated with Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. As encouraged to do by the retreat leader I slowly read Jesus' sermon on the mount from Matthew 5 - 7, thinking of it as not so much a set of rules as an invitation, a snapshot of the kingdom of heaven.
Later that day our leader The Rt. Revd. John Pritchard invited our retreat group to think of the Beatitudes as "some kind of call to let go". This really resonated with me so before I forget them and because I need to meditate on these further, here is an outline:
'Blessed are the poor in spirit...'
Letting go of the need to "be somebody".
'Blessed are those who mourn..'
Letting go of our pain.
'Blessed are the meek...'
Letting go of the need to be right.
'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...'
Letting go of our addiction to ourselves.
(Turn outwards rather than curve inwards.)
'Blessed are the merciful...'
Letting of of the need for revenge.
(This may involve telling the story, acknowledging the pain and then forgiving.)
'Blessed are the pure in heart...'
Letting go of our need to look good.
'Blessed are the peacemakers...'
Letting go of the need to win.
'Blessed are those who are persecuted...'
Letting go of the safety first approach to life.
Bishop John added that it is the invitation to live in this way that creates character that creates a way of life, that is the way of the kingdom of God. I think it will take me the rest of my life to learn how to respond to this invitation.
Here's a video with the words of the Beatitudes, gentle music and beautiful images.
Image Credit: my own photo taken part way down the Mount of Beatitudes