Get up, go ahead, do something, move!

Makarios is the ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’ of the Beatitudes. Ashre is the very first word of Psalm 1. The idea of flourishing is implicit in the Psalm, where the life of the blessed is likened to that of a tree planted by the water, which flourishes year in year out. Psalm 2 also uses ashre to say “blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Ashre has a two-fold foundation: the contemplation side—meditating on God’s law, and the action side—choosing and taking the right ethical and social path.

In his book We Belong to the Land, Elias Chacour picks up the more progressive, active meaning of ashre.

How could I go to a persecuted young man in a Palestinian refugee camp, for instance, and say, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” or “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”? That man would revile me, saying neither I nor my God understood his plight and he would be right.

When I understand Jesus’ words in Aramaic, I translate like this:

Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you who are hungry and thirsty for justice, for you shall be satisfied.

Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you peacemakers, for you shall be called children of God.

To me this reflects Jesus’ words and teachings much more accurately. I can hear him saying: “Get your hands dirty to build a human society for human beings; otherwise, others will torture and murder the poor, the voiceless, and the powerless.” Christianity is not passive but active, energetic, alive, going beyond despair. . . .

“Get up, go ahead, do something, move,” Jesus said to his disciples.
(quoted in Rohr, 2021)

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