Poor in spirit

There is this sentence here from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus that has always eluded me. I always thought it to be straight-forward and that it was about knowing you are poor or that by being poor you see God. This Sermon on the Mount happens to be a favorite of Gandhi so in a way I am drawn to it because someone I admire had dwelled deeply in its teachings.

The reason why I bring it up is because of an old couple at church. They have been volunteering at church actively for many years and have sort of grown along with the church. I have never known them very closely but this last few months I have been seeing them monthly as I play the guitar for a group of people who meet on the 2nd Friday of the month to sing some hymns during Taize. I just play the guitar – the level of emotional and spiritual involvement I question at times.

So in these last few months we’ve had lots of conversations and I hear more about their daily lives. It has been endearing. She loves her husband dearly who is ailing but still keeping strong and when she wasn’t well from a fall, she was worried about who would take care of her husband and keep her company, and yet after every singing practice, he makes his way laboriously across the main road to make sure she gets across safely. They struggle and their bodies are taking a beating with age. We drive them back when they don’t hastily disappear.

It isn’t difficult to be drawn in and take notice of the love they have for each other, the respect they have for the Church and their relationship with God, its all very palpable. The prayers she utters in the group is like a conversation with God and all I do is close my eyes and imagine a benevolent God infront of her. The form in her prayer makes one participate and know that we are in holy presence.

So I think about the Beatitudes (Matthew, Chapter 5) – I haven’t opened the Bible for a long long time. I think about poverty in spirit and wonder, is she poor in spirit? I think she knows she and her husband are poor in spirit and that their lives are in God’s hands, their very sense of security. But the strange thing is that in their poverty, is a richness in their lives that have flowed to us all. And I actually begin to realise, how poor I am in spirit.


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