Beauty From Brokenness
Hope for despair: God, in the suffering this is our prayer.
bread for the children, justice, joy peace;
sunrise to sunset your kingdom increase.
God of the poor, friend of the weak, give us compassion, we pray;
melt our cold hearts, let tears fall like rain.
Come, change our love from a spark to a flame.
Graham KendrickWhen spring hit, my first year in my new house I had an overwhelming desire to plant. So I had my trusty Jackson and Perkins catalog and ordered some hybrid tea roses. As I poured over the catalog I found a beautiful orange one, a yellow one that had pink tips and I think the last one was pink. So when they showed up, I was excited to finally be planting, I dug the holes according to the directions and built my little mound for their bare roots and coming from a long line of farmers threw in a healthy does of manure. I filled with soil and watered it. Nothing happened. I kept waiting for the leaves and flowers. Just when they finally started to grow, there was a lawn mower incident. There I was with two mutilated stumps. I watered them. I fed them and surrounded them with a barrier. One didn’t make it. But one held on to life and by fall was again growing leaves. The next spring it continued growing. I didn’t have much hope of any flowers. But at the beginning of August the first beautiful yellow rose bloomed; followed by five more. The rose was very frail. The stems were not strong enough to hold the flowers up. But this flower that and been broken and struggled to survive was now blooming with beauty.
The Beatitudes are some of the most powerful words that Jesus spoke, words that speak of a beauty that has been broken; words that turned the existing world on its head. The Beatitudes are descriptive of a people, of a different beauty, a different culture, a different economy - the economy of God, the kingdom of heaven, as Jesus put it. This is a beauty where the blessed are the poor, the mourning, the thirsting, the meek, the pure, the hungering, the merciful, the peacemakers, and the persecuted.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.These are not the typical marks of beauty. “People get into ugly spaces. Full- bodied beauty can contain discord, clash, burn, sting, ugliness,” (Sweet, McClaren, and Haselmeyer A is for Abductive, 2003). Works of Art, like the movie Hotel Rwanda are beautiful and yet contain horrific ugliness. There is beauty in this man’s struggle to do his job and to love his wife and children, neighbors, and family when they are now considered the enemy because they are of a different ethnicity. And the movie is horrific for there is a scene as he is driving back from seeking help where a fog settle over them and the road because rough. We find out the road is rough because it is littered with slaughtered bodies. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven (Matthew 5:12). Jesus’ sense of beauty is to turn us upside down and inside out. For Jesus’ listeners who gathered that afternoon in Galilee, his words were a prophetic restatement of the prophet Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3-11).
Come change our love, from a spark to a flame,