by Kristin Berkey-Abbott
This Sunday, we continue our study of last week's Gospel reading:
Matthew 5: 1-3
One of the things I learned last Sunday was how to more correctly interpret the idea of being poor in spirit. The word "poor"--the exact word in Greek--doesn't mean poor the way that modern readers might assume. In fact, last week I made this very mistake: poor as lacking something, like money.
Last week, Pastor Keith told us that this particular word, "poor," evoked a bent-over poor. We have seen this kind of poor in our own cities: the homeless person begging at the intersection, so disabled from this life that standing up straight is not an option.
What does it mean to be that kind of emptied out spiritually? The verse, after all, is "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Some weeks, I know exactly what that kind of spirit must be.
I'm not talking about spirituality, the way that many might when reading that verse. I'm thinking about my general human spirit, that spark that makes a person unique.
Some weeks, I feel like a dimly burning candle on a windy night. The wind buffets my tiny flame, and it's in constant danger of going out for good. What use am I to anyone?
This passage reminds us that there's room for us too, even when we're bent over with our broken spirits. We don't have to be spiritual superstars. Jesus includes us, even when we're spiritually impoverished.
And when we're hollowed out this way, maybe we'll have more room for Jesus.