Raising My Hand

30 01 2013

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:10

I was in the tenth grade when I raised my hand. I can still see the classroom, visualize the notes on the board, remember the feel of the desk piled with books, and the look on my teacher’s face. We had spent the day before working through a discussion about an American author and his views on spirituality, nature, and transcendence. It all sounded so reasonable that when the teacher asked if we all agreed with the author, everyone in the room nodded yes, including me.

That night, I couldn’t get the discussion out of my head. Something was prickling at the back of my brain. It just didn’t add up. As I pondered, I realized what was wrong. The author in his writings, and my teacher in his discussion, had changed God’s role in the world and in the human heart.

The next day, the teacher picked up the discussion where we had left off. “Since we all agree…” I took a deep breath, raised my hand, and talked about God. Later, my teacher looked at me and said, “Someday you will get over this Christianity thing.”

Nobody wants this final blessing. Persecution, in whatever form, hurts and we go to great lengths to avoid pain, discomfort, and ridicule. Walking in this world in the radical way that Christ has unfolded in the Beatitudes will make us targets for persecution. Looking like Jesus means we don’t look like the world and the world doesn’t like that. Jesus wraps this final blessing around our hearts, reminding us to find our place of belonging, our sense of identity, and our perspective on life in His kingdom.

My Jesus Resolution today is to raise my hand. My life is filled with moments when it would be easier to blend in and go along. It isn’t an accident that the words immediately following the Beatitudes speak of being a light in a dark world. It is hard to be the only one to raise your hand, speak up, walk away, or say ‘no.’ I wish I could talk to that teacher today. I haven’t gotten over this Christianity thing. In fact, every day I pray that it gets all over me. And that is what is at the heart of these blessings.


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2 responses

30 01 2013
Melissa B.

Good for you. I remember being told in high school that I needed to stop writing my papers about Christian things. I wasn’t as brave as you.

30 01 2013
Terry Hanger

Raising my hand!

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