(The longer intro is here)
Like me, you’ve probably heard of, but not read, the book ‘A Year of Living Biblically’. What I did hear through the media were interviews about mock stonings and other ingenious ways of interpreting Levitical rules that seem odd in our modern secular culture. But what caught my attention was the interest all sorts of people have in ways of life that break out of normal patterns and concerns. It’s the same with groups like the Amish or even Gloriavale here in NZ. Their alternative life-rhythms and values shock us, and attract us at the same time.
Jesus, especially in his famous Sermon on the Mount, seemed to imagine his followers living out different rhythms and values, while still being constructively engaged with the world. Like many Christians, I’m deeply attracted by Jesus’ vision, while equally frustrated that we so often don’t seem to experience it. I want to take a leaf out of the monastic (or even Amish) playbook, and put Jesus’ beatitudes to the test.
The beatitudes are the nine blessings Jesus declares at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5.1-12). My idea is to do something intentional and practical about each beatitude over the next nine months. So in February I’ll begin by posting what I’ve decided to do with ‘blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. During February I’ll let you know how I got on.
I’d love for others to join in and give the beatitudes a go too. Respond to my posts and tell me what your own efforts at living beatifically have looked like. It could be hilarious. It could be sobering. At the very least it’ll get me thinking more about Jesus’ vision for our world and what it might take for me to live a little tighter into that vision.