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Fullness of life

And he [Jesus of Nazareth c. AD 30] opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Full of life are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Full of life are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Full of life are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Full of life are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Full of life are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Full of life are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Full of life are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Full of life are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Full of life are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5: 1-11

Looking at folk in St Helier – or on Facebook - this week you may have been impressed with how many people are actually enjoying fullness of life.

And you may then have asked yourself whether you are enjoying fullness of life.

Pick out one person whom you think is really enjoying fullness of life. Then tell me: what things persuade you that the person whom you have identified enjoys fullness of life? Would you have a moment to write them down? That would be good.

When you’ve made your list of reasons – for just one particular person – please then ask yourself, first, whether you are quite sure that the things you have put down are indeed a source of fullness of life for that person. And then ask a second, equally important question, does the person actually have fullness of life – or are those things merely a veneer?
‘A happiness that is sought for us alone can never be found – because a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy.’ (Thomas Merton, American writer, 1915-1968)

Please then take a look at the extract (in bold above) from the Keynote Address of Jesus to his early followers in AD 30. He called them together so as to set out his other-worldly analysis of life here on earth as it could be lived to the full.

Jesus’ analysis is nothing short of brilliant. He starts (as above) by describing a person who has fullness of life and by giving nine things which mark out a person who really has fullness of life.

Such people, in Jesus’ Keynote Address, have these things about them: -

• they are in the kingdom (the realm) of heaven (the sky);
• they are comforted;
• they know they will inherit the earth;
• they know they will have their desires for righteousness met;
• they know they will receive mercy;
• they know they will see God;
• they know they will be called sons of God; (yes, sons – even females!)
• they are folk who know that their realm is the realm of the sky;
• they know that their reward is in the sky (where their treasure is).

Do you agree with Jesus? Is what he came to teach - and to live out in its fullness – really true? Not just true for some - true for you? And did the person whom you identified as having fullness of life have the above things?

In this topsy-turvy world it is possible totally to be fooled by veneers – not only the veneers of others but my own as well. That’s why the deepest fullness of life is found in those who see beyond the veneers.
‘Happiness is neither only within us only, nor only outside us; it’s the union of ourselves with God.’ (Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, 1623-1662)

Here are the nine visible attributes of those who are full of life (in Jesus’ opinion). Maybe you will come across them today. These people are seen to –

• be poor in spirit; (not arrogant)
• mourn; (sorrow for others)
• be meek; (harmless to others)
• hunger and thirst after righteousness; (desire nothing but rightness)
• be merciful; (forgiving and giving)
• be pure in heart; (clean inside)
• be peacemakers; (seekers of reconciliation)
• be being persecuted for righteousness’ sake; (suffering because of good)
• be being reviled, persecuted and falsely accused of evil - because of Jesus.

This world is topsy-turvy, isn’t it?
Richard Syvret

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