μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς…

Blessed are the meek…

upside-down-living-blessed-are-the-meek-5-638

The dictionary, as one of its definitions, has meek as “overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame” and most people have this opinion when they read this passage, but that is not the meaning of the Greek word πραεῖς (praeîs). The Greeks would use πραεῖς to refer to someone or something whose strength is under control, like a soldier who does not attack unless ordered, or a police dog who is gentle and calm unless ordered to strike, then the full power of the dog is unleashed.

But, even when the dog is attacking its strength and will are fully under control. A single word from its owner and the dog is back to being a lovable, gentile animal. This is what Jesus was speaking of when he said, “Blessed are the meek…”, not the cowardly lion, but a person who is able to control the anger and rage within in him.

riotIn this world we are constantly set upon by people, things, and events that bring up the rage and anger within. Jesus tells us that we will be happier (blessed) if we can control that anger, it is through the control of our rage that we will inherit the land.

 

Think of the people who, through their mild mannered (not weak) approach were able to attain what they were after, where as those before them, through a strong handed approach, could not.

When you feel that anger well up inside of you, consider Jesus’ message and take the opportunity to control it rather than allow it to rage out of control. Anger controlled and allowed to be used as a driving force for good will accomplish what outrage cannot.

God’s Most Perfect Creation

Adam BirthLast week my son, Adam, passed away, just a month and a half before his 34th birthday.
Adam’s entry into God’s world started off as a struggle, my wife suffered with placenta previa, a tendency for the placenta to prematurely separate fr
om the uterine wall, it was the cause of two prior miscarriages. My wife was determined not to allow that to happen to our third child, so from the first sign of it happening to Adam she was immediately admitted to the hospital, where she spent the next 3 months confined to the bed to keep pressure on the placenta.
Adam was born 90 days early, a miracle for over 30 years ago, when an infection forced an early delivery. Adam wasn’t given much of a chance to live, immature lungs at a time when hospitals simply weren’t set up to handle babies that young, but he survived despite the odds. No one told him he couldn’t, butGod had plans for him, plans that continued until his passing. I won’t go into those here, as it is not the point of this narrative.

Through Adam I was introduced to, literally, hundreds of handicapped children. I met them at the school he went to, the organizations he belonged to, and the activities he participated in. Team PhotoThese children / adults are amazing, if you’ve never encountered them in your life experiences you’ve missed one of God’s great treasures. These are people who have no hatred for anyone, they are simply filled with God’s love, and share that love with everyone they encounter, no matter how they are treated. If you doubt me, become involved with a group that works with the disabled, like the Miracle League.

13Over the last 30 years I have worked with them in many areas – schools, Scouting, sports programs, even in special employment situations. I have seen them mistreated by parents, employees, customers, care givers, even other (so-called normal) children. I have never seen them strike back, physically or verbally. I have seen them return this mistreatment with love, a beautiful agape type of love. A love that does not demand its return; a love that is given unconditionally, regardless of how they have been treated by the recipient.Adam w Gargoyle

Because of my son, Adam, I have been given the gift to see God’s most perfect creation – the soul of the handicapped child. I will always feel blessed for this gift, and thank God for giving me this opportunity.

Sometimes theology isn’t complex

candy-caneThe Legend of the Candy Cane

A humble man wished to use his candy making art
to make a Christmas gift for Christ
that came straight from his heart.

First he shaped the candy into a shepherd’s staff, a “J”
to stand for the name of Jesus,
who was born on Christmas Day.

He used white stripes to symbolize Jesus’ virgin birth,
and His sinlessness and purity
during His time on earth.

Finally, he colored the candy with stripes made out of red,
to represent the scourging
and the blood that Jesus shed.

He had created the Candy Cane, to remind us during this season
that Christmas is a sweet gift of love
and Jesus is the reason.

Author unknown.

Is God in control?

This year, for those living in America, a new president was elected, it was not pretty. Both candidates drew such ire that many wished we could start from scratch, but such is not in the cards (or the law). Regardless of who was elected half the nation would be more than disappointed.

Since the results were announced there have been protests and riots. Cars set afire, businesses broken into, even a few law enforcement officers have been injured, all by people upset because their candidate did not win. This year it cannot even be contested in the courts as the margin was not close – 51 electoral votes separated the two candidates, far more than anyone anticipated, and in the opposite direction. Many of the protesters appear to be Christians, I say “appear” from their appeals to God, signs, and comments to the reporters, but are they? Or have they become so lost in the quagmire of their daily lives that they have lost sight of what is really important?

Jesus told us that one thing is important – to love the Father, and through that love to love each other, unquestioningly, and completely. To love even our enemy, and to show that love like a light on a stand, for all the world to see. He did not differentiate between ideological and physical enemies, but told us to love everyone because, as with the Samaritan, we do not know who is really a friend and who an enemy.

Jesus also did not get embroiled in the politics of the day, keeping his attention focused on what really matters in life – loving God, and helping others to see the light of God in everyone. We live in a unique time upon this earth and, if you are among the lucky, in a unique cultural environment. We have a voice in our leadership, that does not mean we always get the leadership we want, but we have the opportunity to help select that leadership. Also, our leaders are limited in what they can, and cannot, do. Sure, they can make life difficult for a while, but they cannot take your life away from you, and they can do nothing to harm your immortal soul. Jesus tells us not to worry about those who can do us harm, but to be concerned more about those who can harm our immortal soul.

What has happened here in America (to those whose candidate did not win) is not the end of life, not the end of your immortal soul. It is but a wink in the eye of time. It’s ramifications, passing. It’s effect on his plan, minor. Eight years ago the other half of the population decried the election, but the people survived, the nation survived. Four-eight years from now it will be the same. Our lives may, or may not, be disrupted, but our immortal souls will survive if we but love God and his children, no matter whom they may be.

God is in control.