Posts Tagged ‘Sermon on the Mount’

What we say

August 15, 2018

Our President’s language has, once again, caused debate.

When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!

This is not the first time the president has spoken disparagingly about another human.

In May there was this statement about members of the MS-13 gang

“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,” the president added. “These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

And the next day,

 “We have laws that are laughed at on immigration. So when the MS-13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country, I refer to them as animals. And guess what — I always will.”

And there are, as we all know, many more examples. And there are examples of this inappropriate language from other prominent people because, how our leaders conduct themselves really does matter.

 Whether one likes Trump or not. Or supports him.

Whether one likes Omarosa Manigault or not. Or believes her.

No matter whether you are a gang member or not.

This language is inappropriate.

And I mean theologically inappropriate.  I don’t care if you can politically maneuver your want into supporting these statements. Theologically these statements are wrong.

One of the basic tenets of Christianity is our believe that humans are created in God’s image. We, each of us, all of us, are image bearers of God.

Here are some things Jesus had to say about our language.

“Then he [Jesus] called them [the crowd] to him and said to them, “Listen and understand; it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” Matt 15:10-11

“Then [he] said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes from the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unclean hands does not defile.” Matt 15:16-20

“You have heard that it was sad 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.”  Matt 5:21-22

“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, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” Matt 5:43-46a

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” Matt 7:1-2

I think you get the idea….

And in case you were going to bring up the story in Matt 15 (and Mark 7) about the Canaanite woman, I suggest you refresh your memory on similes, metaphors, analogies, and allegories, which you can do here.

Striving for the Kingdom of God

April 27, 2012

Do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?’ or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matt 6:31-34

This passage is one of the several suggested Scripture readings for the “Prayers at the Close of Day” in the Book of Common Worship, Daily Prayer. These three verses from Matthew are part of a much larger section that begins at 6:25 and extends to verse 34. ( you can read all of it, here. ) And that passage is part of the Sermon on the Mount which is chapters 5,6,and 7 of Matthew’s Gospel.

So, these few verses are part of a larger, more complex section of the Gospel. There is much that can be written about them, in fact entire books have been written on the Sermon on the Mount. I simply have an observation to offer in this little reflection.

As I read those few verses (31-34) again the other night, I realized that – in spite of knowing better- I tend to read “Kingdom of God” as if it meant “otherworldly” or  “heavenly” or “spiritual” things and by implication, split my life into spiritual and material parts. If I get the “heavenly” part right, God will give me the material stuff.  But that’s not correct.

It’s not a choice between spiritual and material.

It’s all spiritual.

It’s all material.

The kingdom of God is not an otherworldly, spiritual place. It’s not a place that becomes real sometime in the future. It is a place where now, right now, God’s will is done. When Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God, he is talking about God’s reign “on earth as it is in heaven”. That’s the hope, that’s the future, and the present. But what is it, the Kingdom of God?

Jesus shows us what the Kingdom of God looks like by what he does. The hungry are fed, the naked clothed, the marginalized and outcast are welcomed ( along with the rich and powerful, yes all of us are invited to be part of the kingdom). In the Kingdom of God  no one worries about food or clothing or shelter. There is plenty for all.  When we strive for the Kingdom of God, part of what that means is that we strive for food, clothing and shelter for all. Seeking the Kingdom of God means those things are taken care of, not by divine magic but because the people of God are living justly.

Striving for the Kingdom of God means being focused on living in the reality of the kingdom of God- where our hearts and our treasure are.

Not possessed by possessions.

Not consumed by consumption.

We are to move away from the emptiness that we try to fill with material goods. To move away from envy and greed which keep us from being focused on the needs of others. We are to seek a different life. When we are seeking the flourishing of everyone, everyone will have food and clothing. In meeting other’s needs, our needs will also be met.

 It is an odd way to live, focused outward. Focused on others. Our culture tells us to focus on ourselves. My wants, my needs, my desires. But Jesus tells us the kingdom of God is a different sort of place. ” Do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?’ or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

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