Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Bee-Atti-Whats?

I can vividly remember sitting in the poorly carpeted Sunday School room trying to make sense of what my teachers were trying to convey to me. For some reason, all around me were pictures of overjoyed cartoon bees. It seemed that at least once every year there was some sort bee convention at my church. This was the time of year that we would learn about "The Beattitudes."

For all their hard work at taping and stapling those happy hornets around the room, I never really understood what the Beattitudes were all about. It all seemed strange to me: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Huh? What does that mean exactly? If my spirit is rich I can't go to heaven? What are these blue-haired women trying to tell me? I never really could get past that first "Bee" before tuning out. My mind would drift to the broken room-divider folded like an accordion against the middle of one of the walls. I'd wonder when was the last time it had actually served its intended purpose to really divide the room in two. I'd stare at the past-its-prime bulletin board and remember the decor of months past because of the haunting shapes that were never faded by the sun.
Yes, those lessons were lost on me back in my youth, unfortunately. Aside from the clever play-on-words and spiffy decorations, I didn't take much away from the Beattitudes lessons in Sunday School.
Thankfully, however, God is merciful and provides us with an ever growing understanding of His word and newer translations for us to soak up.
Ben & I found ourselves reading through Matthew chapter five last night, and I was "blessed" to be able to read the Beattitudes through the paraphrase of The Message. Do you remember those folks who are "poor in spirit?" Here's how The Message translates that: "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule."
How awesome is that? That's something I can wrap my mind around. I have been there! I have been at the end of my rope! In fact, last night, the reason Ben & I were reading the Bible together at that moment was because we did, in a certain circumstance, feel "at the end of our rope!" And guess what? We were blessed, because there was less of us and more of God and His rule. It's so true.
The Bible is so alive. It can always speak something new into your life, no matter how many times you've read a passage. You will always read it from a different place and so it will always be relevant in a different way. And when you read a very familiar passage from a totally different translation, it can speak to you on an entirely different level sometimes, as it did for me last night.
Here's the rest of the Beattitudes from The Message:
3"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

8"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

11-12"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

I hope you find yourselves "blessed" today.


Being Still said...

Thanks for sharing. Great reminder that I needed to hear. I miss being around you because you have such wisdom and your fun too. Looking forward to seeing you sometime in the next few months. Keep reading your bible and sharing the insights you gain. They bless me.

Julie said...

This is great, Share. I needed to hear this today :)
Mark has a Bible from his Sunday School days with "Bee" stickers all over it ... so he knows about those little bees. I can't remember seeing them when I was young?
Thanks for the "message" that your post has brought me today. I think I'll go read some more!

Atticus Finch said...

Great thoughts. I have definately felt at the end of my rope many times of late but am always reminded that God is holding on to me even when I feel desparate. What a great passage from the Message. Really needed that. Thanks for sharing!

Atticus Finch said...

Also, feel I need to comment on the fact that Ben and I did not get married. First of all thank goodness because you and Stephen would have starved to death. Also Ben and I would never have made it. We needed the two of you to mellow us a little and I needed to wind your brother up a little. But Ben and I could exchange some good kitchen stories. I am very interested in the secret ingredient. I have to admit I am very anal about following recipes. I laughed so hard at Becca's last blog. Soooooooooooo funny.

ChickideeLilly said...

I always look forward to see what you have blogged about next. Each entry is so unique and profound. You are a deep thinker. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I liked the Message version. It does make more sense, doesn't it? = )

Atticus Finch said...

where is the "show original post" button? that would be a help!

Leslie said...

Wow, did I need this today! Thanks for giving a new perspective on teaching that I too learned as a child :)

God rules!

Angela said...

Thanks for sharing this! Hope you are having a good week!

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