Honoured or blessed?

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

I have been pondering an insight gained from my study on shame in the church. Some commentators suggest that rather than the beatitudes starting with “Blessed are”… it would be equally valid to suggest that they start with “Honoured are”. Now to me “blessed” sounds encouraging but honoured sounds like a challenge to my attitudes which requires a response. Blessed is something God does to people, honour is something to do with what is valued in God’s kingdom, a different set of values often to what is honoured in the world. I think I still have more to ponder to get the most out of this insight but honouring others, particularly others who may not receive much honour in other contexts is something I must pursue.

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2 thoughts on “Honoured or blessed?

  1. Very thought provoking and somthing I may need to ponder further too! I find the word “blessed” more ‘comfortable’ but maybe that is because it is the way I have always interpteted it, and should faith be comfortable? Thinking of this passage in terms of reading/recalling it at difficult times,and also reflecting on some of my experiences of using it in ministry, as well as things Paul recently shared about challenges in the hospital environmet, I find the word “blessed” to be more comforting. It is interesting that it can be repalced with the words “Honoured are” and particularly your thoughts about this. Thinking about some of the people (often adults) I have come into contact with, they think of church (I delibratly state in lowercase!) as a place that they do not feel they belong; that they are not good enough for; that they won’t be accepted and most sadly they feel that they are not worthy of God’s love. Many of these people are however happy to be prayed for or partake in worship outside a ‘church’ building e.g in a community centre, in town/city centres or in their home. The passage you have quoted is one that I know many unchurched people to have taken comfort in but I wonder if the same would be true if the words had been “Honoured are”? Whilst you interprete it as a challenge (which I think it is), I think it could be interpreted as being set apart; given an award; highly respected; privileged; an exalted position etc. Whilst from a Biblical perspective most of these could be used in this context. I think the issue of interpretation is very important. Of course God wants us to feel loved, but what if people struggle with this? For many of those people I feel that changing the words of this passage would make it inaccessable and take the opportunity for them to engage with and take comfort from scripture away from them. This links in with what you say about honouring others who may not recieve much honour in other contexts…I think the challenge is how we can help people feel honoured. (My appologies if that does not make much sense, seemed to be a bit jumbled in my mind but I’m sure God knows what I mean!)
    Lucy xx

    • Really interesting thoughts Lucy – one of the challenges I think is for church to help such people feel honoured which in some contexts involves a cultural change. I do appreciate that I am serving my curacy in a church which tries to be encouraging and inclusive.

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