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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Verb Choices in the Beatitudes

This Sunday, we return to our study of the Beatitude with this portion:

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled."

What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Several weeks ago, we talked about what kind of righteousness--personal righteousness or societal righteousness.  But I can't stop thinking about the verbs, especially in the context of our current political time.

What does it mean to hunger and thirst after righteousness?  What type of yearning is Jesus discussing here?

Many of us might say we hunger and thirst in this way.  Don't we post our outrage on Facebook as various groups look to be in danger of losing human rights?  Some of us have spent the last few months marching--some of us have spent decades marching.  Maybe we've taken a vow to communicate more regularly with our legislators.

I'm thinking that the key to understanding these verbs, this hungering and thirsting, has to do with our intention.  Notice that we are blessed not if we rage and rail for justice.  Jesus does not say "Blessed are those who are angry about injustice."

Of course our anger may be what moves us to the deeper emotion, the hungering and thirsting for righteousness.  Hungering and thirsting speaks of a yearning that lasts, that even as it is filled, it reoccurs. 

These verb choices suggest that we are never done with the task of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.   After all, even if we've eaten the most filling meal, we'll still be hungry 24 hours later.

In these times when many of us feel like we're fighting for rights that we thought had been secure, that thought is an odd comfort.

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