Blessed are the arrogant, for theirs is the kingdom of their own company;
Blessed are the superstars, for the magnificence in their light, we understand better, our own insignificance;
Blessed are the filthy rich, for you can only truly own that which you give away, like your pain;
Blessed are the bullies for one day they will have to stand up to themselves;
Blessed are the liars, for the truth can be awkward.
The words above are written by Kendrick Lamar, the American rapper and are sandwiched between two tracks on the new U2 album Songs of Experience.
When I first heard them, I loved the way that a small part of Jesus Christ’s famous Sermon on the Mount – known as the Beatitudes – had been adapted for our times and in such a way that you cannot possibly listen to the words and not be challenged; just as the original message was a challenge, as well as an encouragement, to the people 2,000 years ago…
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Reading these verses again now makes me think of how relevant this message is today – irrespective of what you believe or think about Jesus. And irrespective of what you believe or think about Kendrick Lamar, the man has delivered an extremely insightful, dare I say, prophetic perspective on so much of how the world we live in today is controlled.
Me, myself and I are usually the only ‘three-in-one’ people we often consider in our daily push for prominence. Like so many things in life, we all too easily miss the good stuff because we are too consumed with possessing what we think will make us happy.
Which leads me nicely to the original Greek meaning of the word blessed. The Greek word makarios means to be blessed, to be happy to the degree that you are so completely content, that you do not need anything else at all. The island of Cyprus was once referred to as ‘Makarios’ because it was believed that if you were fortunate enough to live there, you would never want or need to leave its shores.
So, my question is this: Where do you currently stand in relation to the MeAttitudes… or the Beatitudes? And are you happy? Is there anything from either list that you aspire to? Why not take a few minutes to contemplate these powerful verses?
P.S. If you want to listen to Kendrick’s words, they come at the end of the track Get Out of Your Own Way and then go into the intro to American Soul from the album Songs of Experience by U2.