This is the Reflection by Rev. Brian Merritt for Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center’s The Blessing on 2/7/16
My mother crochets intricate designs on small thread. As someone who appreciates crafts and art I have always admired the patience that she has had with this type of work. Looping and hooking in repetitive patterns she made doilies, table runners, baskets and ornaments. Watching her tear out rows and rows of stitches because she found a mistake always gave me anxiety. I watched her do this act like it was meditation. I have always admired her for her abilities.
When I was ordained my mother bestowed upon me one of the most thoughtful gifts anyone has ever given me. She gave me a large crocheted hanging that had Matthew’s beatitudes on it. Every time I unfold it from its special box I lovingly run my fingers across the stitches, knowing that this represented hours and hours of love.
The Beatitudes are a beguiling mix of hope and exasperation. Are they unobtainable ideals or idealism that we are to aspire? Or are they the perfection that is actually in our grasp?
I believe that we are called to practice the beatitudes in our daily life. If we only took only one as a goal, we would have a lifelong spiritual quest on our hands. They are truly the world as Christ wants it to be and not the reality of the world as we see it.
I have always taken a “Hunger and thirst for righteousness” as my particular challenge. I know that might be surprising in the work that I do, but it has been my focus ever since I was a child. I have seen it as something to be worked like the stitches that my mother makes crocheting. The spiritual life is that repetition and sometimes the ripping out of the stitch that will ruin the look of the whole pattern.
So, which beatitude would you aspire towards if you could choose? Is there one that is embodied by someone you know or respect?