Friday, January 11, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 5: Genesis 13-15; Psalm 5; Matthew 5

I never tire of reading, and praying through, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Truly, it is one of those passages of scripture that seems always to have a powerful relevance to the lift of Christ. It doesn't matter is the day is sunny or dark, or if times are good or bad. When I hear, "Blessed are...." my heart softens and I can feel my soul open to a Savior who is attempting to open us all up to seeing the world with the heart and mind of God. Those words give me hope, and I give thanks to God that we have the opportunity to aspire to a society in which we actually might one day exhibit that sort of care for each other...

...but don't for a moment think that this is all about the others in our lives, the poor or mourning, the oppressed (or even us when people are mean to us.) There are also some hard-edged teachings there for us to chew on. Jesus takes the law and expands it. Murder is prohibited, yet Jesus tells us that to nurture anger against another is a form of murder. Adultery is prohibited, yet Jesus tells us that even the simple lusts of our hearts demonstrate to God a lack of fidelity. Jesus sets the bar very, very high. That is challenging, because we simply can't all be that good all the time.

So then, he also reminds us to walk mindfully before God, knowing that God loves us, forgives us and expects the very best from us. We are salt, that is salty. We are light, that shines in the dark. We are hope for the world, not because we are perfect but because God loves us, forgives us and abides with us so that we might be the kind of community that labors to see the world, and each other, as God sees us. So, today, let's use good judgement, instead of passing it on others. Let's express mercy instead of contempt. Let's strive to forgive, as we are forgiven. Let's hope, knowing that our hope is in God. It is truly a high calling. Thank God that God has promised to be with us...through thick and thin. Oh, how we need to hear that good news!

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