Rev. Ronald H. Matthews
"If one-tenth of the things we say we believe as Christians are true, then we ought to be ten times as excited as we are" (William James).
The Sermon on the Mount, which begins with the familiar Beatitudes offers the prescription for spiritual health; yet few people seem to realize it. Jesus seems to always put things in a vastly different light. For example, the Beatitudes clearly show that the chosen ones of God are perhaps the lowliest of the low. Those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, are the chosen ones, the true disciples of Christ. In this perspective the Beatitudes have often been seen as a charter for the church community, established guidelines by which we are to live. But is that the case? If so, it sounds like there is a requirement that a disciple ought to be poor in spirit, or mourning, or meek, hungry, thirsty, or even persecuted. What does this mean to you and I or for that matter any disciple of any time?
Before we take these guidelines as our ticket to a first class seat on the flight to heaven, consider what kinds of persons would fit these qualities. Basically, those whom Jesus calls blessed are those who have nothing to lose. They are the ones who are filled with grace alone and whose prime energy source is faith.
Faith is the key to understanding who such disciples are. They may be poor in spirit or in terrible grief. They may be meek or constantly hungering or thirsting for righteousness, but they are merciful and pure in heart. They are peacemakers in the midst of a peace-less world and they are constantly living with the threat of persecution. FAITH is the central core to living a godly life, not perfection, not sinlessness, not purity of some kind. It is the living in God's grace and being directed by faith that is the sign of discipleship.
When we speak about "All Saint's Sunday, we are speaking not just of an approved list o ...
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