Friday, December 3, 2010

Homily on the Beatitudes, Part 1: The Call of Desperation (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"Blessed are the poor in spirit..., they that mourn..., [and] the meek...." Matthew 5:3-5

Divine blessing belongs to those who taste desperation. The proud and the confident can never stand on the rock of God. They will always trust their own two legs in sinking sands. The great insult that Christianity lays at the feet of fallen men is this demand for vulnerability and weakness before God. All self-assurance is to be lost and all confidence excluded. If there's one thing that so-called "self-sufficient" people cannot stand, it is this call to admit their desperation. Such an action is anathema to them; they would much rather feign strength than come under such terms.

Feigning strength is all that they can do, however. The call to desperation is not a command to change into something; rather, it is the charm to break the spell that has been cast over us. The truth is that all human strength is a lie: we are all sinners, cut off from the source of all strength, and thus are necessarily poor, miserable, and blind. Our pride and confidence are mere delusions; we are all of us helpless before the power and consequences of Sin, and to be faced with our helplessness is to wake up to reality. It is only when we wake up that we step onto the road that leads to the grace of God.

Epitaph: Jesus calls us back to reality so that we may partake of this truth: those who have nothing will gain everything.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2010

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