This week began our deep exploration of practicing the Beatitudes with “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” The liturgy explored our poverty of spirit using Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 5.
Jesus invites us to be salt and light in the world to bring glory to our Father in heaven. As we read His challenge to be more righteous than even the most religious people in the world, we cannot help but acknowledge the ways we have fallen short. We are angry and hold grudges. We lust after people and things to satisfy our deepest aches. And yet, we know our God is gracious and compassionate; His love for us is as high as the heavens are above the earth.
John and Lori invited us to explore how we might own our poverty using the Rich Young Ruler of Matthew 19 as an example. We live in a world that drives us to want, hoard, and live with a scarcity mindset. We are told we don’t have enough and that we are not enough. As a result we have a deep fear of our poverty. Lori invited us to reflect on what we are holding with clenched fists. What are some of our greatest fears? What things, relationships, or character traits might we be clinging too tightly to in our lives?
John then shared the kingdom reality of this Beatitude. All is well because we are cared for by an abundant provider in whom we can trust. Jesus whispers this promise to us in even our darkest moments. It is in our poverty, our willingness to surrender and trust in the goodness of God, that His presence and kingdom is found.
In response to this abundance, Lori led us through the first Kingdom Practice for the week, a beautiful prayer using three hand postures.
- Praying with clenched, open, and cupped hands: Will you spend a moment each day praying the prayer Lori led us through Sunday night?
- Which hands clenched, reflect on what you are holding too tightly and pray, “Lord, I long to live open and free before you but I have filled my hands and my heart is afraid, Lead me in the way of trust.”
- With hands held open, reflect on God’s invitation to share what He has given us and pray, “Lord, I offer you my open hands so that by being poor in spirit, your kingdom might come in and through my life, Lead me in the way of trust.”
- With hands cupped and held toward heaven, reflect on God’s abundant provision and pray, “Lord, I ask this day that you would provide for my needs, so that rather than fear, I would embrace poverty and be open to your perfect will for my life, Lead me in the way of trust.”
- Take a step of generosity: Because we are invited to live open handed, will you ask God how He may be leading you to live more generously? What is one step you can take to be more generous with your time, possessions, and/or money?
- Thanks/Ask: Gratitude is a way we can grow in trust of God’s goodness and abundance, and asking for our simple everyday needs reminds us to live in moment by moment dependence on God. So each day this week write down three things you are grateful for and one simple request from God.
Friends, my we lean deeply into our own poverty this week…knowing that the full abundance of God’s love and provision meets us in that holy space!
Grace and peace,
Jason and The Practice Team