“It is into this world that Jesus comes and says, “I’m bringing a new reality.” Jesus brings a world where instead of taking from others, we give not only the shirt off our back, but our jackets too.“
Hello Gloria Dei,
It’s a great time of year. There are many reasons for this. Spring is inching closer and closer. The days are getting longer. Outdoor winter activities can still be found in abundance. The Vikings won’t lose this weekend. And the March Madness of College Basketball is almost upon us. I’ll be paying attention to the Summit League tournaments, both women’s and men’s, starting today through early next week. I’m confident some of the South Dakota teams will end up going to the “Big Dance.” March Madness is here.
As we move through this season of Lent and we continue reading through the New Testament, this week we encounter Jesus’ famous “Sermon on the Mount”. As I read through it once again, it’s almost as if Jesus looks around at the world, and despite its beauty and goodness, Jesus also sees a world that is upside down from what God intends. Jesus sees a world gone mad. Madness.
The aggression from Russia toward Ukraine and the senseless suffering and death. Madness. The daily shootings and stabbings in our own country. Madness. The vying for position and control and exploiting others to climb the corporate ladder. Madness. The stain of human trafficking; the epidemic of illegal drug use… and on and on we could go. Madness.
It is into this world that Jesus comes and says, “I’m bringing a new reality.” Jesus brings a world where instead of taking from others, we give not only the shirt off our back, but our jackets too. A world where we not only pray for those we love, but also for our enemies. A world where the dishonest powerful ones are thrown down from their thrones and those who are poor in spirit become blessed.
I invite you to read Matthew chapters 5 through 7. Jesus shows us that in him, we are part of this new reality. It’s not that we get everything right. In fact, the Sermon on the Mount convicts us and shows us that by ourselves we fall short. But it is Jesus who fulfills the Law for us, and therefore turns us into new people, set free to shine the light of Christ into a dark, upside-down world.
In worship this weekend we’ll focus in on Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s Prayer, found in chapter six. As you ponder Jesus’ teachings, may God fill you with his presence, peace, compassion, comfort, forgiveness, and above all, his love.
Happy Reading! And Happy March Madness (The Basketball Kind).
See you in worship,