Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others 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 so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(a variety of lichen found in the woods / Julie Cook / 2015)
This morning while reading my daily devotional, I was struck by an
interesting question concerning the Sermon on the Mount raised by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 1940
Because the individual is always the one placed in the responsibility, the old question–whether the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.5-7) applies to the individual as individual but not to the individual who is responsible for others—is falsely stated. The Sermon on the Mount itself makes people responsible for others and knows no individual only as an individual. It is not satisfied, however, with preparing individuals for their duty in the community; it also lays claim to individuals in their responsible activity itself. It calls them to love that proves itself in acting responsibly toward the neighbor, to love whose origin is the love of God that encloses in itself the whole of reality. Just as there is no limiting the love of God for the world, so also the human love that springs from God’s love is not limited to certain areas and relationships of life. Either the Sermon on the Mount is to be regarded as the word of the world-reconciling love of God everywhere and at all times, or is does not seriously concern us at all. . .The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the most compelling proof that God’s love is at all times equally close and equally distant. Jesus died because God loved the whole world. And in this same love—sealed by the cross of Jesus–we are called into the whole world.
As I finished my reading and prayer reflections, I was left with a bit of nagging clarity coupled by some continued questions. This whole concept of who exactly Jesus was addressing in the Sermon of the Mount as well as what I, the individual, was to take away from His instruction, remained in the forefront of my thoughts for most of the morning.
I began pondering the concept of responsibility verses merely being a receptor. . .of my being on the receiving end of Jesus’s words, what with His list explaining who was to be what and why– or–the thought that there is actually to be some sort of prior action on my part which was actually the gist that I was to take away from what He said–That it’s to actually be a “go forth and do” sort of command verses just a nice little reflection of how things are after the fact.
Reading over the day’s latest news stories I stumbled upon this picture of an ominous map attached to a story posted on the BBC regarding the current global migration crisis. I clicked to read the article and was met with a very sobering reality of this now constant global bleeding
This next chart notes where international migrants now live:
The article, which is just one in a growing litany of articles sounding the warning alarms of a world on the move— with the reasons being not by happy choice.
There is a global crisis that is demanding action to be taken by us all–Europe is almost stretched to its breaking point, and according to other graphs accompanying the article we see that the US is a top end destination for so many of these refugees.
The nagging question remains. . .how are we to apply the Sermon of the Mount to this latest world trouble. . .and what, as Christians, is to be our responsibility?
I think our responsibility is very clearly laid out in the Sermon on the Mount and also in Matthew 25. We are to feed, clothe, visit, provide all the necessities that are needed – that includes sharing our homeland with others. It is not easy by any means but then living the Gospel message has never been easy. Each generation has been challenged in different ways. I just never want my Canadian government to turn away refugees ever again as they did the Jews before World War II! We in North America haven’t experienced the incredible flow of migration that Europe is experiencing but we need to step up to the plate and accept the challenge of helping others.
Julie, thanks very much for putting this crisis in our world into perspective for each of us.
Oh man, coupled with my sister’s crisis tonight, it is definitely a world in chaos on a global level as well as a personal level. I just post something about what’s going on with her and asked for prayers. I don’t know what the coming days might bring, but I could be out of pocket some. But I will always take the time to you check in with you. Love, N 🙂 ❤