Tuesday 01 November 2016

Bible Book:

“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them.” (vv. 1-2)

Matthew 5:1-12 Tuesday 1 November 2016

Psalm: Psalm 34:1-10, 22


Halloween is over and today we reach one of the high points ofthe Christian Year - All Saints Day. Sometimes today is called AllHallows - hence the word Halloween being derived from 'All HallowsEve'. The Christian story is often one where opposites are heldtogether, despite human efforts to part them. The Psalmist remindsus that darkness and light are both alike to God (Psalm139:11-12) yet we understand darkness to be a place of evil,where bad deeds are done, forgetting the nurturing darkness of thewomb. It seems that human beings need to engage with evil before wecan celebrate good. Today we remember saints - those of legend andthose ordinary saints that faithfully loved God and theirneighbours. Most saints have not been perfect - they have mademistakes and missed their paths. Yet God's transforming love hasshaped them for service.

In today's passage, Jesus goes to a high place, "up themountain", not this time for his own transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8) but in order to address hisdisciples and teach them about the way God holds things togetherthat seem at first to be opposites. The poor inherit the kingdom ofheaven, the mourners will be comforted, the meek will inherit theearth, etc. It's not entirely clear whether Jesus teaches thecrowd, or goes up the mountain to avoid them! Either way being insuch a high place gives Jesus a broad perspective: he can see thefull picture and can offer to his disciples some truths about thenature of God who will restore creation and honour those who let goof the empty ambitions for power, wealth and popularity.

The link between the text and sainthood perhaps comes in theword 'beatitudes'. In Catholic tradition people who become saintsare 'beatified' - they are blessed because they have demonstratedlives of service and self-giving love, often putting themselves atrisk of scorn, imprisonment, even death. We stand, not onmountains, but on the shoulders of giants, who have loved God andneighbour, and shown us a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven that,through Christ, we inherit.

To Ponder

  • On whose shoulders do you stand? Who inspires you in yourChristian journey?
  • What might it mean to be "pure in heart" (v. 8)?
  • How can you be a 'peacemaker' today?

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