Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: End (02/13/06)
TITLE: End of self
By Jonathan Turnbough
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So I probed a bit. The Greek word often translated "poor" also carries with it an idea of mendicancy (I had to look it up...). Beggars. That's what it means, people in the throes of a poverty so severe that they are reduced to begging. Now that helps some, I thought. I also looked up "spirit," just to be sure. It can mean "wind," or "soul," but seems to convey the inner person, even the heart, perhaps. I thought as much. These probings led me to a new translation of this opening Sermon line. I jotted it in my Bible, right above the typed version: "Happy are the spiritual beggars, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." I like it. It seems like something I could maybe do. I think spiritual mendicancy is a deceptively attainable goal, however. I think it will typically involve a lot of difficulty, tears, and failure, at least where I live. It must be hard for a self to come to its end. But when I stand, bewildered, at the utter end of that proud and lonely path called sufficiency, when I have glided along that narrowing trail until it has narrowed to a humiliating halt my feet, when I have known deeply the struggles and yearnings of my own torn soul and tasted fully of my utter impotence in meeting my own needs, then I might just raise my gaze above the crippled landscape of myself to ask for help. And that is a start. Indeed, it may be much of a finish. I looked up "beggar" in the dictionary, just for a little more insight; it is "a person who lives by asking for gifts." I want to live like that. I hope you do, too. I think a deep awareness of one's desperate need for the Almighty lives right next door to the piercing perception that there is all the grace needed to meet that need, all the grace in the universe.
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