Stu G, Stu Garrard, Word From The Hill, CCM Magazine - image

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A few years went by, and then [Delirious? was] finished in 2009. That was a hard time for me. You can read more about that in the book, but I kind-of hit my own personal crisis at that time. I wondered, “Is my best work behind me? What on earth am I gonna do? How do I look after my family?” I had my own moment of—what Eugene Peterson meant when he said, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope”—I felt like there was nothing left. In that moment, for me, which was a couple or three years of questioning, it was quite depressing, really. “What am I gonna do?”

Yet in those moments, I was feeling like God was not very far away—I still felt close somehow. Then I started to see the Beatitudes as announcements of presence. When there is failure and brokenness, and when things aren’t working out, the announcement is, “You are blessed. I am on your side, I am with you.” God is on your side. For me, the Beatitudes were something different at that point. Not as something to attain—as if to receive a blessing—but rather the fact that when it’s broken, and we aren’t actually achieving anything, that God is still on our side. And He is really close to us—like, at the bottom of life. That was the genesis of the project, sort of flesh on the bones, if you like.

CCM: We’ve always loved how the Beatitudes, these, “blessings from the bottom,” were spoken on a high place—on a mountain. Another example of how Jesus works. So, why put so much effort into something like this now—why is this message so timely?
Whenever anything happens on a mountain in scripture, we’re to take notice—The Ten Commandments, Abraham and Isaac… This was like, Jesus’ most important moment, if you like, in terms of what He had to say.

Why do it now? I think it could have happened at any time in my career or my life, but I feel like once I’ve lived through a transition of sorts where my career ended and I was waiting for something else to begin, and I started to understand and have compassion on other people who were in those kind of moments.

I also think that it feels, whether this is true or not, it feels like as a nation or nations in the world right now, we’ve never been more divided or polarized. And I feel like the Beatitudes offer us an antidote to that. They say, “Let’s open our eyes to those around us, those we don’t agree with, those we see as ‘the other,’ in a lot of cases. Those whose presence we’re not even interested in being present. Let’s see who the meek are. Let’s see who’s grieving and let’s be like God and be on their side and be present to them.” I feel like something that the Beatitudes offer us is presence, and the invitation to be present.


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