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Showing posts from August, 2013

Blessed: The Peacemakers - Matthew 5:1-2, 9

How many of you like ventriloquists?   I really like the comedy, but also admire the ventriloquist’s ability to say something without really looking like they are saying something.  In some ways they mimic what we often accuse politicians of doing, “talking out both sides of their mouth.”  You’ve seen a ventriloquist get in an argument with his puppet—and you’ve seen a politician who will say one thing in this location, and turn around in another location, or maybe after the election, say the complete opposite.  Why bring this up?  Because if we take our reading from the Beatitudes today and place it alongside another selection from the Gospel of Matthew, some might accuse Jesus of speaking out both sides of his mouth—either that or a ventriloquist has hold of him making him say one thing in one location and something else in a different location…either that, or Jesus means something far more than what we might initially think at face value. In these nine verses of the beatitudes, Jesu…

Blessed: The Pure In Heart - Matthew 5:1-2, 8

As Jesus has turned our world upside down, have you been feeling blessed or challenged during our sermon series so far?  I have to admit that I have felt challenged quite a bit as I have worked on the sermons. Remember, as Jesus offered this message, it was not him telling people about being happy...too be declared blessed was to be declared privileged, well-off, or fortunate. That if the criteria Jesus mentions applies to you, you stand in a privileged status with God. Those who are poor in spirit, having completely founded their identity in God instead of their accomplishments and their stuff, are privileged to find themselves already members of God's Kingdom. Those mourn the condition of the world are well-off because they will find themselves comforted as God acts and wipes away their tears making everything right. The meek are fortunate because as they pattern themselves after Jesus because they receive the promise that they will be citizens of the New Jerusalem. Those who hu…

Blessed: The Merciful - Matthew 5:1-2, 7

Jesus turns our world upside down. It is no longer the self-sufficient, those sure of themselves, the proud who are to consider themselves privileged, but Jesus tells those who hear Him, that the ones who are fortunate are the poor in spirit, those who  come to realize that without God, we are nothing—that our identity does not lie in what we do, what we have, or anything other than God Almighty on whom we are dependent for everything, even the breath we just took. It is no longer the happy-go-lucky folks that are to find themselves fortunate, Jesus tells us that those who are blessed are the ones who look into the world and weep at what they see—those who mourn the condition of the world when they see so many in need in the face of so many who have so much. It is no longer the arrogant who should hold their head up high, or those who exercise great physical or military might, but those who are humble are privileged, the meek are blessed—those who seek to live like Christ in their reacti…