Blessed are those who are poor, desperately enduring until a time when everything is turned upside down.
Blessed are those who mourn, and who continue to sustain through suffering.
Blessed are those who cannot exert their every whim on the world.
Blessed are those who thirst and hunger for justice; justice is a long, difficult pilgrimage.
Blessed are those who take the time to fit mercy into their busy schedule.
Blessed are those who commit to the long, failure-filled road of forming a pure heart.
Blessed are those who learn a language incomprehensible to the world, the difficult language of peace and reconciliation.
Blessed are those who are persecuted and pay the penalty for doing justice.
In a world of grab-and-go, of addiction to speed, of undelayed gratification… Blessed are the patient, those who see that the long, dry, rocky road of the cross leads to life.
All Christians must, at some point, do serious business with the Sermon on the Mount.
It is the penultimate discourse of Jesus, his magnum opus within the Gospels. If there was a handbook on Christian living, the Sermon on the Mount would probably be it.
One topic major topic present in the Sermon on the Mount is that of peace and nonviolence. This is, unfortunately, one of the aspects of the Sermon that Christians often ignore. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. called the Sermon on the Mount the greatest manifesto of nonviolence ever written, yet so many Christians feel free to support war and violence.
When you open Matthew 5 to experience Jesus’ stunning sermon you are first greeted with the Beatitudes. These eight statements are a blueprint for the values of the kingdom of God as preached by Jesus (cf. Matt 4:17). These values are taught by Jesus over-against the dominating values of his day; violence, greed, pride etc.
Things have not changed in our time. The values of our culture are antithetical to the Beatitudes taught by Jesus. This is perhaps nowhere more obvious that in our penchant for war and violence. Read the rest of this entry
Atemporal “answers” aside, 2011 has been a year, among other things, of great political turbulence across the globe.
War, uprisings, rebellion, and violence have been a hallmark of human history, but seem to be especially concentrated at this stage of the historical drama (at least as far as we know).
Without naming specific conflicts, what does the death and resurrection of Jesus mean for a world seemingly overflowing with violence? Read the rest of this entry