Your blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. – Matthew 5:8 (The Message)
A Devotion for February 2017.
I absolutely love the way Eugene Peterson can turn a phrase. If you have the opportunity I would encourage you to read the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12) in Peterson’s dynamic translation of the Bible called The Message. He has a wonderful knack for taking texts that are sometimes hard-to-understand and present them in such a way that they have meaning and significance in the world today.
Here’s an example of what I mean. In the eighth verse, he says, “Your blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” I can look back on my life and journey of faith and recall many times when this passage applied. With my 20/20 hindsight, I can correlate the most difficult patches of my journey with my inner self thinking that I had all the right answers, that my opinion of the only viable one, or that my path was the only path. In other words, my “mind and heart” the inner most part of my being was focused on my way rather than the Divine way. A kind of spiritual blindness.
Currently we live in a nation and world that is very divided. We belong to a religion that is also split by political ideologies and theological ideas about the nature and calling of God upon the Church. I’ve noticed that these differences cause people to “dig in their heels” even at the expense of common sense and reason. Global climate change is one example of this. I won’t get into the argument for and against the changing climate because there is finally no viable evidence against the fact that the carbon footprint of humanity is rapidly changing the climate of the earth. Unfortunately, this has become a political issue at the expense of God’s beautiful creation.
This is the kind of spiritual blindness that Jesus spoke of on the mountainside. External things like ideologies and the need to be right cause our internal selves to be out of rhythm with nature, which can cause us to miss God in the outside world.
As we continue our journey together, may our eyes be open, along with our minds and hearts, to see the presence of God all around us in wonder of God’s creation and in the diverse faces of humanity.
Peace and Blessings, Pastor Phil