Perspectives: A Sermon from the Mount, Part 2
written by Seth Haines – for Part 1: Read here.
It was all that Daniel could talk about—this man, who was at the Mountain pass today. Last night, when he climbed into my lap, when he stretched out his five-year old legs, when he smiled and said “Jesus is camping by the mountain,” I could feel joy sucking the breath from his ribs. This man talked to children, Daniel told me. “Sometimes,” Daniel said, “Jesus will stop, right there in the market, and find one of us and whisper ‘go’ and we’ll race to the end of the road.” He laughed and told me, “Jesus never wins.”
So, when I stared at all hope sitting in my lap, I returned his toothy grin and said, “want to go?” and Daniel squeeled and jumped his yes. As a man of little means, time is the easiest present to afford.
But now I stand shoulder to shoulder with this crowd of people. I did not expect such support for a rebel teacher whose followers are children and moneyless men. I had heard that the teachers in the synagogue wanted to kill him. But then again, the teachers are always grasping at rules and stones. They are fond of cursing and throwing, and it is a wonder that they have never cast the first at me. I have nothing to offer them. In fact, I can only take. After all, if the rules prevent me from filling my son’s belly with stolen bread, it is the rules that have killed my son, not hunger. I understand this. The teachers do not.
Yet somehow, I want better for Daniel. He deserves better than this beggar-thief can offer.
Daniel is hopping up and down. He is trying to steal a glimpse. I would let him keep hopping, because it’s a joyful, one-legged kind, but the man standing next to me is out of place, and I do not trust him. I reach down and hook Daniel under the shoulders, hoisting him onto my own. He tussles my hair and whispers excitement, saying, “I see him, I see him, Daddy.” And so do I. His eyes, for a moment, are locked on John’s—not the one who follows him, but the one wearing the leper’s robes. The one who used to be devout. We all know his story.
Slowly he turns to face us, smiling first at the lame and crippled, then at the beggars jingling their copper coins. He follows the sea of weak and wounded, until he finds the the gaze of a thief, and locks me inside of him. And with the glinting eyes of a father offering his son a cup of cold water, he holds out his hand to me, and says
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”