[Matthew 5 – The Message]
Lots of folks came to the whisper of hope. Many wish for a different world.
Few can hold the faith when it seems so contradictory. Blessings come in mourner’s rags, in weakness, want and loss. Really?! Persecution is the evidence you’ve got it right? Geez. And no promise of setting it all right in this world’s frame. No “told you so” to those who still don’t see.
How do you hold to a hope that is ripped apart by the status quo? Is there a reality beyond the world-wide cultural frame of power as control? Hard to see when control is so powerful. (Easier when I see how little power I have in control. Easier, still, when I hear him laugh. There is real power when you don’t have to control.)
So, Jesus speaks to us from the mountain, “Be salt and light. Make a difference – if you don’t, why be here at all? Be generous with your life, for what you give is what endures. Be a virus for good.”
“God’s laws are good. They knit the universe together as it struggles to become. Why would I subvert them? No, I enrich that becoming, drawing more from what you see than you can dare to imagine. There is no quick fix in stepping out of the web. But there is a deeper understanding that I will reveal to you, even as it reveals itself to ‘the becoming.’”
“Murder is ending life. Every sign of life you shun, every relationship you damage puts an end to a bit of life. Don’t expect to find me till you’ve learned this lesson. I have come to give you abundant life. You honor me when you embrace its every form. You cheat yourself when you turn away.”
“And those ‘innocent’ steps toward sin – where you play with the idea in your mind, where you let your eyes stray and your imagination stroke the possibility – those have already bent your life. If you buy the cookies, you will eat them. It’s never easy to constrain the self, but it is much harder when you are on the downhill slope. And this whole issue of legal hurt – of the framework for divorce – it should never be taken for a justification for injury.”
[a bit out of order] “The old way sees the world in the frame of enemies and friends. One you love, one you hate. One you help, one you hurt. If you could see all as one, you would be seeing with God’s eyes. And the best way to start is to act as if. Love your enemies, even if, as yet, you do not know they are your friends.”
“Watch out for formulaic words; courtesies that distance and promises that merely delay engagement. Words should build a bridge rather than form a mask or shield. A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is more likely to build an honest bridge.”