christ on the hillside

A conversation on the (new!) Jesus Radicals site has me thinking about my experiences at the Catholic Worker. Some hard days there. I referenced a journal entry from that time, trying to caution people about the challenges, and it reminded me of my hopes then "that there is a 'blessed' life that we are called to that is blessed in reality and not just in imagination." The vision of "Christ in the Breadlines" wasn't working for me any more.

Jesus described the life of the kingdom of God as "blessed." And when we look at the life he and his disciples lived, we can see that blessedness. It's not a life mired in the dirt and degradation and violence of the "Christ in the Breadlines" ideal, as far as I can tell. During my Catholic Worker days, I felt myself being drawn more and more to the vision of Jesus on some hillside, like when he preached the sermon on the mount, with people coming out to see and be healed by him. Jesus' kingdom life drawing people out of the mire of their lives. His invitation inspiring them to long for and eventually receive the good life that Jesus himself lived. My "Christ on the Hillside" vision. Still a poor, vulnerable Jesus, but living the blessed life of the kingdom.

And, since then, Heather and I have been shown something of how that might be experienced now. We've been led to a hillside of sorts, from which to invite the poor out of the pressures and violence of the city. And we're still able to live a life of voluntary poverty, but a beautiful poverty. A life of the kingdom that is "blessed" not only in a spiritual sense but also materially and relationally, because "your Father knows your needs." I hope that can be a witness and encouragement to others who see it.

In any case, it's been a great encouragement to me. I'm very thankful.