I spent a lot of time meditating on the beatitudes before and during my trip to Ethiopia. When I came to the second beatitude—blessed are those who mourn—I realized that most of us have far too little mourning in our lives.
In nine days I leave for my third trip to Ethiopia. I’m leading a team of eight men to work with sixteen former street boys. Andrew, one of the guys on my team, asked me what Scriptures would be helpful to meditate on to prepare spiritually for the trip, an insightful question if ever there was one.
I’m encouraging the team to spend some time in Matthew 5, especially in the beatitudes. I think we often miss the profundity of what Jesus is saying here. We tend to think the ambitious, the cunning, and the powerful are blessed. But he says it’s the meek, the mourners, the merciful. He then moves on to address apathy, anger, lust, divorce, lying, pride, and love, and while his teachings apply equally to everyone, I think many of these are areas that men in particular wrestle with.
Each day I’ll be spending time meditating on one beatitude and one section of Jesus’ teaching on the aforementioned issues.
With the beatitudes, I’ll be asking myself three questions:
- When has this beatitude been evident in my life?
- Am I currently demonstrating this beatitude?
- How can I make it more a part of my life?
The questions for the teachings are similar:
- When have I handled this issue well?
- When have I handled this issue poorly?
- What steps to I need to take to grow in this area?