“Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.”
— Jesus, in the book of Matthew
Just over a month ago I decided to try my hand at a blanket series, creating several large blankets around a theme. At that time, two friends and I had started reading and discussing the book of Matthew together. When we got to the Beatitudes in chapter 5, I knew I’d found my subject matter.
The word “beatitudes” comes from the Latin beātitūdō which means “happiness” or “blessing.” I remember thinking: what better attribute to imbue a blanket with.
May I set the scene for Matthew 5? Jesus is about 30 years old, he has recently left the home where he grew up and has begun to travel and teach in public places throughout the region of Galilee in Roman-occupied Israel. He has asked 12 men to accompany him and learn from him, like apprentices, which they do. Also, quite notably, Jesus has begun healing the people he meets of all sorts of diseases and ailments. Interest and crowds are growing. It is in this setting that he begins to teach, just as a rabbi would, and with an authority and credibility that surprise people, especially as he is a carpenter by trade, and from a small town.
It was on a hillside one day, surrounded by such a crowd, that he said (among many other things) “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
What? Meek sounds so unflattering! I don’t know anyone who longs to be known as the meek one!
But over at Dictionary.com I learn this (with italicized notes in brackets added by me):
1. humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others. [Worthy traits!]
2. overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame. [The “meek” we don’t think highly of.]
3. Obsolete: gentle; kind. [Check out these older meanings! They’re great!]
And Merriam-Webster offers these synonyms: demure, down-to-earth, lowly, humble, modest, unassuming, unpretentious.
However, they’re also not so smart. (Sorry, sheep!) But perhaps that keeps them humble?
If Jesus insinuated that meekness is a quality worth having, then I propose that it’s worth reconsidering how we think about it in our modern-day world, maybe in these terms:
Then there’s the last part of that verse—whoa!
What is the blessing that the meek will receive? They will inherit the earth. What can that even mean?? I don’t know, but it sounds amazing. Is it like a fairy-tale king entrusting to his beloved daughter a sound, cared-for kingdom, with peaceful people tending beautiful, full fields and lands? Even that picture is poor next to the possibilities contained in the blessing of this beatitude.
But someday perhaps we’ll know :)
“Blessed are the Meek” (62″ x 72″)
This blanket has already gone to a good home.