November 1, 2010
For hours today I have been trying to crystallise something to say about the Sermon on the Mount. There should be something, right? The Beatitudes, The Lord’s Prayer, the Golden Rule, the narrow way… Saying there’s some good stuff in here is like saying Mother Teresa was ‘quite nice’; it doesn’t really cut it. In fact, I just wrote 900 words about this passage, but that didn’t really cut it either. To be honest it’s all a bit too much. There are 24 sections of teaching here and although some relate to each other, some feel quite disjointed. It’s just relentless. I don’t think I’d ever read it all the way through before and I invite you to read if for yourself here. Quite an experience, no?
Taken as a whole, it seems to shake you up, Jesus is coming at you from all angles: What is your heart’s intent? What is you treasure? Where is your focus? What do you worry about? How do you think of others? And perhaps that’s its purpose. This was the beginning of his ministry. He’d just chosen his first disciples, excitement is stirring all aroung and crowds had begun to follow him. So the message is here is “yes, follow me, but if nothing is changing inside of you then calling me ‘Lord’ isn’t going to save you” (esp 7:21). He is not just interested in our loyalty but in the fruits that our lives bear. He is not content with us listening to him if we don’t put his words into action (7:24-27). Right at the beginning of everything he’s asking us to have a good long look at ourselves… What do you see?
If you feel a bit shaken up too then remember that this whole thing begins with the comfort of the Beatitudes, which are surely aimed, among other things, to bolster the disciples in the face of trails to come. I leave you in the capable hands of Arvo Part: