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Blessed are the Pure in Heart

Have you noticed, as we are slowly unpacking the blessings of Jesus, the progression? We must start with poverty of spirit, by acknowledging that we have nothing of ourselves. From this, we move through mourning to meekness—the humility of recognizing our lack. Following this come the blessings of our interaction with others—righteousness----right living with God and others and being merciful as we realize we are all in the same boat. And now:


“Blessed are the pure in heart,                                                                               for they will see God.”


I don’t know about you, but as I read these words, I am immediately overwhelmed—somehow that word “pure” says “perfect” to me, and it seems like a high lofty goal, so far above who I am or ever will be. Like Jesus’ “Be holy as I am holy”. Let’s just move on to something vaguely possible!



But as I have sat with this word “pure” and explored its meaning, I am beginning to understand that it says something different to what I have always thought. For starters, the word translated here

as pure means “being cleansed” and it is translated “clean” as many times as it is “pure”. In fact, it is the word Jesus used when washing his disciples’ feet. “You are clean,” and in speaking of Himself as the vine, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”


Clean?

Pure?


So, this is no lofty, out-of-reach goal. This is the way we are when in relationship with God. Not can be, if we are good enough—but are—because of Who He is, not who we are! So, we can be pure in heart, right now in our present life. Not just in some future time. Wow!


Then, what does Jesus’ promise mean, “for they will see God”?



My mind turns to Mother Teresa and her life of ministering to the beggars in India. For her, the face of the beggar before her was the face of God.

             

“Any work of love brings a person face to face with God.”

             

“Every day, I see Jesus Christ in all his distressing disguises.”

             

“I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper’s wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord Himself.”


Jesus Himself said: “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me.”


I wonder how it would change our world, our daily life, if we began with the realization that we have been cleansed by God, are fully accepted, and fully loved; that we can walk in our world sharing that love, seeing the “Imago Dei” in each person who crosses our path. What a thought. And yet,

Why not?


Recently I was in New Zealand, my home for the first thirty-four years of my life. Going “home” always means spending time with old friends. There is a couple who, because of past hurts, I have tended to avoid spending time with. However, as I prepared for this visit, I felt compelled by the Spirit to prioritize time with them, to let go of my fears of being judged and found wanting, of needing to defend myself---to go with an openness to simply love.


I wonder now, as I reflect, if at that point, I actually had a pure heart—my desire was to love from the love of God that daily sustains me—I let go of any focus on myself and my needs. We went. I was able to hug, to listen, to affirm, to encourage. I had no sense of judgment against us—just an appreciation of our presence. We laughed, we shared history, we shared tears. These are my friends with whom we have shared so much and whose deepest desire has always been to do what God asks them to do. I came away in awe of how amazing God is as we trust Him.

 

Mother Teresa spoke of “seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening”. Does that seem like an overwhelming invitation?


As we pray the Lord’s prayer, we say these words:

              “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.”


Kingdom living is what we are seeking as we explore Jesus’ words in this great sermon. Is Kingdom living actually closer than you could have imagined? Not some lofty way of living a perfect life, but a simple “yes” each day to His love and to loving others!

 

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