These last two weeks I read through the Sermon on the Mount a few times (Matthew chapters 5 thru 7 (see it at BibleGateway.com ). It is beautiful, difficult, profound, confusing, enlightening – all at once. But this time it seemed more united. Here are some notes I wrote myself as I read.
True Blessedness, now and hereafter, is on those who:
1) Pursue True Righteousness which does NOT equal forms, pretentions, common practices, special spiritual experiences (‘gifts’), but DOES equal integrity, humility, love, golden rule, attention to fruit (actual consequences), attention to Jesus, love & truth, love and justice.
2) Do so Without Rage, arrogance, legal power plays, self-indulgence, or violence.
There are lots of specifics of how we should think, talk, and act, with contrary examples taken from commonly observed behaviors, BUT with
- do not judge,
- do not think of others as dogs or pigs,
- do not retaliate.
He prescribes a deliberate, self-aware holiness of attitude and life that is nevertheless without self-obsession. Conversely, there is a strong concern for how we relate to others — how others are seen and treated — but without any lessening of the rigors of the personal standards to which we are being called. And those personal standards are explicitly exclusive of prominent religious cultural standards.
- Practical Holiness is the Standard for all of us,
- AND it is to be maintained without Arrogance, Rage, Violence, or the Supercilious Sneer.
I like this. Jesus really does see the whole thing – “God, the Universe, and everything” – from an uncommon perspective. It’s very attractive to me; seems very healthy.