Ponderings
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January 27, 2014, 2:30 PM

Living the Living Word

Our Pastor's Ponderings

 

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.              NRSV MATTHEW 5:1-12

 

Some call it the Sermon on the Mount. Some call it The Beatitudes. Some call it The Teachings. Some call it the Teaching or Wisdom from the Mount.  However, all too often it is taken out of its Jewish and Matthean context.   It is occasionally distorted, or as C. Bauman states, "has been dramatized, secularized, universalized, criticized, psychologized, politicized, and radicalized(C.Bauman, Sermon on the Mount: The Modern Quest for its Meaning(Macon GA:Mercer University Press, 1985, pg.62).

I say that it is Jesus' invitation, his wisdom given, to us to be like him. I believe he is showing/teaching us how to live our lives...HUMBLED and SELFLESS-centered.  Jesus is calling us to be gentle like him yet serve with a conviction that is like no other and God, only God, offers the end game.

Essentially, I believe, we are truly blessed when we stand in awe of God's words, are humble in the Spirit we have been given  and then minister in the call we are each chosen for.   These words, Beatitudes, these blessings, declare God's favor, not on attitudes but on conditions and behaviors that are to encourage appropriate actions. They tell us where God's blessings and future promises are! These are not laws that are abolishing the old ones either.

Later on starting in verse 17 Jesus tells us that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. If you really want to get a feeling for this I urge you to read Chapters 1 through 4 in Matthew (or come to Wednesday evening Bible studies and I will have done most of the heavy lifting for you).

My friends every little piece of scripture has meaning for us and how we relate and should relate to a loving God. The scriptures, however, need to be studied and read and interpreted. I urge you to do that. Yes, you can read and interpret scripture...do you?

 I really want to help you all with this. If you ever have a question about a text you read....please come and see me or email me.  Face to face is really preferred because as you read more will be opened to you and more will be cloudy. If I don't know the answer, and there will be times when I don't(for sure) , we can search together to find an interpretation that might make sense. I also have a lot of contacts that have even written books about most of these texts.

Mostly, I hope you read the texts in your Bible and realize the incredible gift you are given by God. God is revealed in the scriptures and you can see and experience that saving Grace we always talk about. God's words are not stagnate but are living. They are just aching to be interpreted by you, for a meaning to you, in a relationship God makes for you. What is really cool is that as we grow in God's grace even more gets revealed to us and sometimes what we thought before doesn't hold up now.  That is why we call it the LIVING WORD of GOD! 

God calls us to LIVE the LIVING WORD of GOD as well.  Remember, I have always said there is a call and a response...an action  and reaction. God's words must always be put into an action step or they fail to have the power that is intended. But power is not the intention.

The intention of the Word is to love, an Agape love. All of Jesus' teachings, wisdom and efforts are to state and show that we must do as we are commanded, LOVE GOD FULLY, LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS AS SELF AND GO DO IT! There is no and cannot be any other action.  Even the disciples found that out when they wanted to rain down the fires from heaven like Elijah...Jesus just said shake it off... Friends God will do the rest if it is GOD'S WILL. It is not our will.

Ours, Jesus', is a Gospel of Love, of Gentleness, of humbleness, of peace, of mercy, of comfort. That is how children of God live and react. Know that if you ever hear words from a preacher or other Believer state anything but love, inclusion, peace, caring, mercy for ANYONE they are not words of God....shake them off...turn and run the other way!

This all said....why not join us on Wednesday evenings at 7PM as we travel through the Gospel of Matthew....We look forward to your company, your spirit and fellowship!

 

Peace,

Pastor Ken

PUPC@verizon.net

www.pupcscranton.org

 

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