By Ken Woodley
The darkness is turning into light all around me.
Silhouettes of trees appear along the eastern horizon.
The watercolor of dawn is being painted before my eyes.
Rain had fallen all day yesterday in an unrelenting downpour but the clouds today are white flecks of canvas waiting for the brushstrokes of sunrise.
I look up at the sky and see it all unfolding.
Then, I look down into a large puddle by the side of the road and, rather than muddy water, I still see the sky putting on the day.
In that reflection, I think of God.
I feel the tide of Christ rising with the sun because down is often up, with Jesus, instead of down and out.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth….”
Yes, down is somehow up.
The poor in spirit ascend.
Those who mourn are lifted.
The meek rise.
Swords become plowshares.
Cheeks are turned.
Two cloaks are given when one is sought.
A mustard seed can dream big and mighty dreams and those big and mighty dreams won’t maybe come true. Those big and mighty dreams certainly will come true in the way God knows is best.
God turns things inside out and upside down. Jesus did that all the time with his parables and the guiding light of his words, such as the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.
One of the greatest speeches of all time wasn’t delivered, as one might expect, on a grand stage that raised the speaker above everyone else.
On the contrary, the Sermon on the Mount was delivered sitting down. Jesus goes up a mountain, but instead of standing on the summit, lording himself over everyone else, he sits down to teach, in the rabbinical tradition.
And then he tells the people to look down into the puddled tears of their lives and discern their own reflections.
But discern something else there, too.
The sky—the Kingdom of Heaven—is right over their shoulder.
Right over our shoulder, too.
Down is very up.
And the Sea of Galilee is whatever color the sun and clouds are painting it as we gather around Jesus and feel his words wash like a wave across the beaches of our soul.
Anything is possible—everything is possible—through God. The established order of things means nothing.
God is not bound by the way things used to be.
Neither, thankfully, are we, if we are wise enough to be foolish for God.
Poor enough in spirit to receive the Kingdom of Heaven and share it with others.
Comforted enough to mourn.
Meek enough to inherit the earth.
Let’s sit down with Jesus and see what happens next.
By Ken Woodley