Sermon on the Mount
I want to start a series on one of the most powerful teachings on the planet. I have written about bits and pieces of it here but want to spend the next several week delving deeper into what is considered the essential tenets of Jesus’s teaching. The Sermon on the Mount consists of the Beatitudes, along with other well known teachings like turn the other cheek, let your light shine and love your enemy. If we spent our life time focusing only on this portion of Jesus’ teaching, we will surely be transformed.
Let’s start with the first line in the beatitudes. Matthew 5:3 says “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” On the surface this statement does not seem very inviting. No one wants to think of themselves as poor in spirit. Many of us may have an image of someone weak and easily manipulated or influenced. It is not a pretty image.
But, when we read the words of Jesus, we must think differently than conventional wisdom. Remember, Jesus was a man of power and confidence. I can’t image him as a weak, ineffective man. Yet, here he is asking us to submit our spirit, to become poor.
The question we must ask is, to whom are we submitting our spirit to? The answer is that we are submitting to the power and presence of God. Think of someone you know that is full of spirit or full of him or herself. There is not much room for anything else. When we become poor in spirit, we become empty and available to the presence of God. We yield our egos to God. When we empty ourselves of our limited perceptions of life and the world around us, we see with the eyes of God. We make room for the presence of God and the Kingdom of Heaven in our lives. Otherwise, our loud insistent voices and judgements drown God out.
For the next day or so, pay attention to the ways you silence the voice of God. Notice when you are full of your own opinions, conclusions and agendas. Then notice how the Kingdom of Heaven eludes you during those times. Take a moment and breathe. Empty yourself of your spirit or become poor in spirit. Let God fill you with God’s spirit and notice if there is any difference in how you see and participate in the world.