"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth"
"Meek" doesn't read well in contemporary English. Clarence Jordan writes: "In English the word meek has come to be about the same as weak or harmless or spiritless. It is thought that a meek person is something of a doormat upon which everyone wipes his feet, a timid soul who lives in mortal fear of offending his fellow creatures". That doesn't sound like the good life! Not are doormats hurting themselves, they often enable bullies. So that can't be what Jesus meant.
The Greek work used by Matthew is praeis. In a dictionary sense it means 'humble' or 'gentle', but contextually, like all the beatitudes, Matthew points to Jesus as its true meaning. Jesus uses it of himself: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle (praeis) and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls." (Matt 11..29). As I'm writing this we've just celebrated Palm Sunday (Covid 19 style!), and here Matthew quotes Zechariah 9.9: "Look, your king is coming to you, humble (praeis), and mounted on a donkey..." (Matt 21.5). And it's often pointed out that in Numbers 12.3 Moses (surely nobody's doormat) is said to be the most humble (praeis, LXX) person on the face of the earth - something presumably not written by Moses himself! Given that Matthew is especially careful to represent Jesus as the new Moses, I suspect we should also be thinking of Moses when we come to any conclusions about what "meek" really means in this beatitude.
Here's my take. Jesus' radical way of ushering in the Kingdom was peacefully and gently on the back of a donkey. To do so took praeis: a humble bowing of his will to God's way of reconquering his creation: the cross. Moses too had praeis because he also was surrendered to the task of bringing God's people into a new kingdom. One founded on a covenant with Yahweh, not the power of horses and chariots (Ps 20.7; Deut 17.16 cf Isaiah 31.1). The meek are blessed because they are the ones who follow Moses and Jesus in winning the earth in the kingdom way we see most clearly on Palm Sunday and Good Friday. The meek will inherit the earth because Jesus, The Meek , already has.
So here's my challenge: find examples of meek Kiwis. No doormats, but meek like Jesus. I'm happy for any suggestions or contributions. to be share Perhaps it is exactly at a time like this that the truly meek will shine? Self-nominations are excluded, although if you think Moses wrote Numbers 12.3 then you could argue for a biblical precedent :-)