1 Ki 3-4; Mat 5; Psalm 68
Yesterday we thought about how the humanity of Jesus is revelaed in his being tempted, but better understood as his being a child of God.
Now we enter the territory of the Sermon on the Mount. Contrary to many, we need to realise, this is meant to be lived. We are to be poor in spirit – humble – mourners (how can we be otherwise as we see the world in which we live?) – to be meek (gentle in the strength that comes from above) – hungry for God’s Life – merciful – pure in heart – peacemakers – and thus persecuted.
The last beatitude is the one which really makes such an impression on our mind. To be frank why would anyone persecute a Christian. Yes we see how our brethren are actively persecuted in so many parts of the world – but in the West as Christians we long ago made our peace with the surrounding culture. And in the West we have largely sought to avoid concrete obedience to the teaching of Jesus. We have separated our lives out – the spiritual, a sort of message, or a set of feelings -and the material, where we live lives that are no different to those amongst whom we live and a thousand miles away from the life revealed to us in the Sermon.
Ultimately this disconnect is an abandonment of Christ. He is our teacher – we are told to follow him. The Sermon is nothing less than the description of the life of a disciple, but we have chosen the easy course and so books abound on how we must not take the Sermon seriously. It is we are told ‘about the age to come’. BUT in Christ the age to come has dawned. The call to truly repentant lives has been proclaimed – the highway has been made straight. It is not complicated, obedience to Jesus. It is tough, but not complicated. We have created a false gospel, which requires no response on our part, it is a thing that is almost impossible to communicate to others, for it is so complex. But it is much much easier than obedience to Jesus.
From Ghandi, to many indigenous people’s to whom the gospel came – the disconnect between our lives and the teaching of Jesus is plain. We struggle to know how to communicate the gospel?? The answer Jesus gives us is plain – Live it. Of course then that final Beatitude may well become true for you also – but as Jesus says, that is a matter for rejoicing, no?