27 Mar Sermon Snap Shot March 24, 2019
To be honest, I’ve always viewed the Gospel of Matthew’s Beatitudes as enigmatic, difficult to understand. They are wise sayings for sure. And for years I saw them as a prologue of sorts to the really good stuff that comes right after it. But during this series, I’ve begun to read the Beatitudes quite differently, thanks in large part to a quote by Mahatma Ghandi that I stumbled across a few weeks ago in my research.
Ghandi was a reformer and social activist in India whose non-violent approach eventually led to India’s independence from the British Crown (something that they share in common with us as Americans). Ghandi’s witness also inspired other movements, including Martin Luther King’s non-violent resistance approach that he and his followers practiced during the Civil Rights movement. My favorite quote from Ghandi that I have used over the years goes something like this:
“I like your Jesus. In fact, I’ll become a Christian when Christians begin to following his teachings.” A few weeks ago I stumbled across this quote of his about the Beatitudes:
“They (the Beatitudes) contain a message that would save the world. What a pity that Christians have been listening to the message for two thousand years, but they (Christians) are like stones lying in the water for centuries, never soaking up a single drop.”
Powerful words from Ghandi, but what is this message, in particular, that the Beatitudes contain? This is where I had my aha moment.
The Beatitudes are not simply beautiful, wise sayings of Jesus. They are not a prologue to the “meat of the Gospel” that we find in the verses that follow in the Sermon on the Mount.
No. The Beatitudes reveal to us the very Way of Jesus. They foreshadow not only what is to come for Jesus, but they foreshadow what is to come for ALL who take up their cross and follow him.
And like Ghandi, I have no doubt that the world would be forever changed – “saved” even – if Christians sought, with God’s help, to embody and live into these beautiful attitudes.
From Sunday, March 24 message from Matthew 5:1-8, “Be(autiful) Attitudes: Merciful and Pure in Heart”
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC