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Unhappy: The Good Life (1)

. 4 min read
Christ Church, Mountain Top
Psalm 42
Genesis 12.1-4
Matthew 5.1-12
      Preaching the good news of the kingdom
      Curing every disease and sickness
            Including demon possession
raised: the GOOD LIFE
and Crowd
      Blessing & invitation
and needlepoint
      Innoculated against the revolution
for blessing, makarios, lexicons:
      Friberg – in non-religious context, lucky
or fortunate
      Liddell-Scott – Plato, syn, “rich and
better educated”
would you define the “good life”? 
makes a person a “lucky dog”?
      Reputation – looks even taller in person
      Mary Chapin Carpenter: “I feel lucky”
            Dwight Yoakam’s in the corner,
trying to catch my eye
            Lyle Lovett’s right beside me with
his hand upon my thigh
            The moral of this story, it’s simple
but it’s true
            Hey the stars might lie but the
numbers never do
            I’m feeling lucky tonight
      Exceptional: The Secret of My Success: “We’re not like other men”
      Wealth, sex, power – perennial human
desires, in some combo
shares his version of the “good life”, and it looks nothing like what we would
expect and nothing like what the crowd would expect.  He probably even surprised the disciples when
he told them who they were.  They’re
blessed … and they’re the poor, the mourning, the meek.  Had they signed up for this?  Did the crowd really want to get in on the
act and participate in discipleship as well?

Good Life, according to Jesus: Matthew
are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled.
are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
signing up for that?
sound logical:
      The merciful receive mercy
      Those who desire righteousness will be
some simply do not line up with experience:
      The meek inherit the earth? 
      Those who mourn?
      The poor – by any definition?
      The persecuted?  Really?
Jesus glorifying poverty?  Is he
romanticizing it?  Is he clueless about
how the powerful actually inherit the earth and dispossess the meek?  Is he spiritualizing the blessed life … “so
spiritual as to be no earthly good”?  We
might do that, especially with the phrase “theirs is the kingdom of heaven”,
but Jesus’ view of the kingdom was here and now as well as there and then.  Jesus’ view of the kingdom included
“inheriting the earth”.  What is going
on?  And it seems hardly “happy”, more
like “unhappy”!
Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship,
chapter 6
      Not blessed because they have chosen
poverty …
      Poor … because they have chosen Jesus,
said YES to his call
      Blessed because they have chosen Jesus,
said YES to his call
YES to Jesus is saying NO to all else
      Covenant Group: Jesse is God’s child, not
YES to Jesus is saying NO to all else
      To our selves, to our bootstraps, to our
all our “self-made” potential
            Poor in spirit – kingdom of heaven
(not our own kingdom)
      To all other gods, all other relationships
            Mourn – comforted
      To our own rights: “I’m within my rights”
            Meek – inherit the earth
      To anything other than the righteousness
of Christ
            Be filled
      To give up our “dignity” and embrace the
“humiliation, sin, wretchedness” of others (Bonhoeffer)
            Receive mercy
      To give up even our own goodness
            True innocence is unaware of
goodness; Be pure, to see God
      To give up our bitterness
            Make peace
      To give up respect and safety
            Embrace rejection and persecution
YES to Jesus is saying NO to all else
      Sounds like a recipe for unhappiness
      Exactly what we resist at the core of our
            But are we actually happy?

if we let down our defenses we will hear Jesus speak over us, from the cross:
“Blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed.”