Showing posts from February, 2014

Revenge and Perfection

Matthew 5:38-48 Hear the sermon here

Mahatma Gandhi is said to have read from the Sermon on the Mount regularly. Much of what he did seems to have been inspired by the words of Jesus- such as his commitment to non-violent resistance. Gandhi is often quoted as saying, “I know of no one who has done more for humanity than Jesus. In fact, there is nothing wrong with Christianity ... The trouble is with you Christians. You do not begin to live up to your own teachings.” I have found out that we don’t actually know if Gandhi said this, but the power of those words still sting regardless of who said them. Gandhi could have said them due to his experience with British colonialism in India and in South Africa.  But, those words could have been spoken by a variety of people from a variety of different times. It’s not difficult to come up with a list of historical events where Christians have not acted very Christ-like. The Crusades, the treatment of aboriginal peoples under the colonizing influen…

Anger, Lust, and Lies

Matt 5:21-37 Hear the Sermon Here

In our Gospel reading Jesus is now describing to us what it means to be the people of the Kingdom of God. And as we hear his words we should also hear in the back of our minds the period (or exclamation mark!) he places after his teaching. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says this (7:21-27):  “Not everyone who says to me, ’Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ [Which he doesn’t teach in this sermon]. Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’  ‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. …

Being Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-20 Hear the sermon here
Last week we talked about the beatitudes. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:1-12). The beatitudes point to those the world doesn’t see as especially ‘blessed’. They are not valued by the world- The poor in spirit, those in mourning, the meek. The beatitudes also mention those who are in the midst of struggle- those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (but who therefore don’t have it), the merciful (who endure the sin of others), the pure in heart (who endure the tension of temptation), the peacemakers (who live in the midst of violence), and those who are mistreated and persecuted (even though they are doing what is right and good). Jesus says even all these are welcome to be a part of the kingdom of God. They can live the kingdom of God, not just after they die, but they can live in the kingdom of God even in the midst of their spiritual poverty and even in the midst of their struggle to make peace. T…

who is the Kingdom of God for?

Matthew 5:1-12
Hear the sermon here (This was part of a children's sermon)
It is hard to imagine words that have affected the world more than the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). For 2000 years these words have been transforming humanity. In my own life these words have been profound. It was reading these words, and through them encountering the man who spoke them, that I really became a Christian.   For the rest of the season of Epiphany we will be exploring the beginning of this sermon that Jesus spoke. As Christians these words should be neared to our hearts than any other.             In Matthew this series of teachings take place after he climbs a mountain, which to us in Alberta would be little more than a hill. The crowd was separated by those willing to climb the hill to be with Jesus and those who didn’t. Those who wished to be his disciples (those who really wanted to learn from him about how to live) and the crowds who were maybe just curious or bored.  In the minds of tho…