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Showing posts from February, 2015

What to Do Part One

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Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4

I wonder in Jesus' day how many people had a marching band precede them into the temple…

The Hardest Part

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You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  Matthew 5:38-44


Jesus wraps up the first third of his "Sermon on the Mount," with some of the hardest words for us to hear and especially to live.  Today, I was listening to a sermon from Kent Dobson on the Sermon on the Mount.  He makes the distinction that Jesus did not sit down on the mountain and begin to talk about what people should believe (orthodoxy - right belief).  Jesus sat down and preache…

Lust

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You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.  Matthew 5:27-30

It seems appropriate on the day that Fifty Shades of Grey opens in theaters to land in this passage from the Sermon on the Mount.  To be clear, I have not read the book, I will more than likely not see the movie, and will not offer here any criticism for that which I do not know.  What I do know is that we live in a world where intimate relationships are at an interesting place.  I know that our twenty-something young adults are delaying marriage.  They often talk abou…

Anger

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You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.  Matthew 5:21-24

We continue to explore Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, I am struck by this passage.  I am struck that first of all Jesus does NOT say, "Don't get angry."  I think sometimes in the church we have given the implicit or even explicit message that anger is always bad.  And so, we tend to repress and push down anger...which we all know is really hea…

Salty

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You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.  Matthew 5:13
The gospels record very few of Jesus' sermons.  The above quote is taken from what is usually called, "The Sermon on the Mount," starting in Matthew 5.  Luke calls a very similar set of sayings,  "Sermon on the Plain".  While you cannot judge a book by the cover, you can tell a lot by the title.  It matters to Matthew that this sermon is preached on a mountain because centuries earlier another religious leader climbed a mountain to chat to God and he came down with a sermon etched by the fingernail of God.  That was Moses and Matthew wants Jesus' life to echo...echo Moses' life.  Luke is much more concerned about equality and making room at the table for everyone...preaching a sermon on a plain...a level playing field... makes much more sense for him.  
In both Gospe…