Sunday, March 30, 2014
I wrote the following as an entry in the Princeton University Chapel Lenten Meditation Booklet. I was assigned the following text: Matthew 5:1-12 (The Beatitudes)
Doesn't Jesus make the Beatitudes sound so easy? Who wouldn't want to live in these ways?
Just follow these simple words and you will be blessed by the Lord. Why would it not be easy?
Yet we all know that these words, easy as they sound, are a lot harder to live out. At Jesus's time, in the First Century AD, people of faith had become lax in their devotion and practice. Social injustice was abound in a community that claimed to worship God.
Doesn't that sound familiar? Look at our current world that is ravaged by a lot of societal ills, such as mass incarceration, war, gun violence, increasingly economic inequality. Our worship can sometimes become rote, instead of having spiritual richness. In many ways we are currently in a similar position as First Century Israel.
To confront this communal sin, Jesus issues a call for His followers to go deeper in faith. He issues standards of devotion that God expect out of the new followers. These same standards are still relevant today. Christianity is not supposed to be something that is only relegated to Sunday mornings. Instead, our faith should be lived out in our everyday actions.
Yes this is hard to do! Another thing about the Beatitudes: Jesus was talking to His Disciples, not to a single person. We cannot do this alone, separate from each other. As a faith community we should work together to improve the world around us, so we can all be blessed, not just some of us. But this work of transformation must begin with us.
This first step in this transformation is to support each other and hold each other accountable to live deeper into our faith to strive to be like the examples Jesus expresses in the Beatitudes.