The Sermon on the Mount
“By all means, drink deep of the fountains that are given to you in the Sermon on the Mount, but then you will have to take sackcloth and ashes.” Mahatma Gandhi.
The Sermon on the Mount is “the most luminous, most quoted, most analyzed, most contested, and most influential moral and religious discourse in all of human history.” Harvey Cox.
Walter Kaufmann argues that Christianity is simply “the ever-renewed effort to get around these sayings without repudiating Jesus.” But the Sermon is all but impossible to ignore because Jesus’ words get to the root of the human condition.
E. Stanley Jones, missionary to India, warned readers of the Sermon on the Mount about the temptation to reduce the Sermon on the Mount to a mere “echo of scattered sayings out of the past.” However, that is not the way Jesus’ first hearers took it. They were struck with the Sermon’s utter newness and they commented that Jesus taught them as one with authority and not like their scribes.”
In the next forty days (Sundays omitted) we will be diving into Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It is an appropriate Lenten Meditation for the following reasons.
- It follows Jesus’ baptism and temptation in the wilderness. Early in his ministry, Jesus lays out what it looks like to be his disciple in the clear terms of the Sermon.
- The Gospels show us how Jesus lived his life and performed his mission according to the principles of this Sermon.
- The Sermon is the most succinct collection of Jesus’ teaching that we have. If you only had one piece of scripture to understand to what Jesus was calling us, this would be the best.
For the period from February 22 (Ash Wednesday) to April 8 (the day before Easter) we will be reading the Sermon on the Mount together. A daily reminder will be sent by email. However, the daily readings can be found at lifespringchurch.net, our Church Website.
O Christ, please be with us as we read these words, spoken by you to your disciples, and may they sink deepy into our hearts. May we not try to dance around them or discount the but regard them as your marching orders to a lowly group of people seeking to follow you. In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.