Posted by Forrest Parkinson

Jesus’ principles of God’s reign:

#1: It belongs to poor people.
Q 9 (Part 3)
How to be Poor.

Poor people are fortunate because the Realm of God is theirs.
Around this time, Jesus went out into the hills seeking solitude and spent the entire night in prayer.
At daybreak, he came down with his disciples.
A great crowd of people from all parts of Judea, Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
had come to hear him and be cured of their diseases.
Fixing his eyes on his disciples he began to speak.
“Fortunate are you who are poor, for yours is the realm of God.”
Borg-Powelson-Riegert Reconstruction (1996) ref:
Matthew 5: 1-2, 3, 6 & Luke 6: 12, 17, 20-21

“Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen, and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be any use to him.” — M.K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

Dear Jesus Way friends

“How to be rich” gets 64,200,000 Google Hits.
“How to be poor” gets 9,190,000 Google Hits.
I was surprised at how many hits the “being poor” question raised. Thinking it would be mostly social welfare titles, I was just as surprised at how many of the titles had to do with voluntary simple living and being happy with modest circumstances. People seem to either despair of riches or feel disappointed by them. But people do not desire hunger or destitution.

Two weeks ago I wrote,
“God’s reign belongs to poor people. We know, on the face of it and from other words of Jesus that poverty is not a good thing in itself. How then is poverty linked to the God’s Reign… or the Kingdom of God? Does Jesus rise up poverty because some quality of poverty connects people to God? Is it to say that some quality of being rich interferes with a connection to God’s Reign? After all, isn’t abundance a good thing?”

When India was crumbling in the immediate after-shocks of its independence and the religious violence of partition from Pakistan, Gandhi made no speeches but went to rioting Calcutta to “fast unto death.” Eloquent words could not speak to a parent whose child had been murdered. By going down into dying by starvation Gandhi was able to speak to grieving people in their pain. And Gandhi had a reputation, he had nearly died before and they knew he would die if they did not stop the riots and retributions. Gandhi met them in their poverty and pain and was able to help them bear the poverty of their lives undone by violence.

In Egypt, Syria, Brazil… are there people who are so loved? How about in on the LIE, in your office, at the kitchen table…. are there people so loved?

Can we be poor? We can ally with the poor. But our alliance has to be authentic to ourselves. There is a story that Gandhi once chided a chubby political friend to join him in the fast. His friend replied.
“If I fast I die. If you fast people go to all sorts of trouble to keep you alive”
This is true for us, too. For Gandhi’s fast to work its miracle the Nation had to love him and be certain he would go through with it.

So the question I am asking myself, that I trust we call ask ourselves, is how can we be poor?

We will begin by all sorts of smart definitions. We will end up experiencing real need. How will we choose that experience?

Next Week
Jesus’ principles of God’s reign:
#2 There is Hope! See, hungry people will be satisfied and suffering people will rejoice.

Q 10 (Part 1)
Happy are you who are hungry, you shall be satisfied. Fortunate are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Borg-Powelson-Riegert Reconstruction (1996) ref:
Matthew 5: 4,6 & Luke 6: 21

Guest Speaker on 7-13-13 will be
Chaplain Wally Merna
Wally is the director of the Freeport Food Pantry operated by the Long Island Council of Churches.
He knows something about satisfying the hungry and rejoicing with people who suffer.
He wants to hear about your experiences.

Luke 6: 21
‘Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
‘Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.

Matthew 5: 4,6
‘Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
‘Blessed are those who
hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.