Once upon a time, about 2,000 years ago as the story is often told, Jesus grew tired of the crowds, went up a hill, and gave a little speech.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Warming to his theme, he continued:
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 fulfilled.
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 sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
It’s a fun little talk that someone called Mathew, or so the story goes, thought to write it down and put it in a book. That little book got later incorporated in to a little-read book called the Bible.
Now imagine, if you will, that you’re a man who believes everything in this Bible. Imagine that you’re a man who, for over 10 years lived in a palace and effectively governed a church of similar minded people who also believed everything in this Bible (although no-one asks how someone smuggled a dictaphone to the top of a mountain in the mid-Iron Age). Imagine too, that you’re titled and landed, you sit by right in the House of Lords and get a say in all legislation passed in the country solely because of the book you believe in. You’re one of the single most privileged people in the country. Imagine you’re that person, and you sit up in bed one day and read this list again. You might imagine that you’d be in for a bit of a shock.
You could hardly describe your position as meek or merciful, you’ve resided over a group of people famous for bickering over the meaning of words in the book you all claim to believe in, so you’re not much of a peacemaker. But you desperately want to be blessed! What do you do?
Well, if you’re Lord Carey, you pretend you’re being persecuted. Now that you’re persecuted, you get to enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven!
Of course, the fact that it’s Carey who’s busy doing the persecuting, and the fact that it’s people who want to persecute and villify others that he’s defending might be a bit of a problem. But once you’re being persecuted, I guess you don’t need to be meek, or merciful.