Is That You, Jesus, by the Side of the Road?
They say you see in life what you are looking for. And that may indeed be true. When I leave work at the end of the day, there is a small figure I have seen from the road. It looks like Jesus to me. Do you see his white robes, his dark hair, the book he is holding in his hands? Only upon drawing closer will you discover that the "figure" is actually a broken-off piece of metal.
I enjoy the thought of meeting Jesus along the side of the road. I like to imagine that in this scene, he is speaking aloud the Beatitudes, for the very first time, during that Sermon on the Mount. It is a lesson we could do well to hear again today. (I like the King James version and you can find that here.)
The Beatitudes? Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. It also includes that cool stuff about being the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the city on a hill.
When I was a student at Penn State in the 1980s, one of my closest friends - in fact, a boy I loved like crazy, but alas he dumped me; I bought the expensive Celebrity Ovation guitar that he dreamed of, hoping to win him back, but never did - was a big fan of a Christian performer named John Michael Talbot.
My friend played guitar with great talent, and there is a JMT song that he performed at an event we attended. He was very crowd-phobic, so he sang it with his eyes closed, like it was a prayer. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. That tune is my soundtrack song for the day: John Michael Talbot and Terry Talbot, with Behold Now the Kingdom.
A multitude followed a man
A prophet who spoke words of wisdom
And they listened, trying to understand
The paradox of his great truth
He said blessed are those who are poor
For you shall inherit the kingdom
And blessed be those who are weak
For you shall inherit great strength
Blessed be those who are children
For you shall be counted as wise
And blessed be the blind man
For you shall see with new eyes