You have heard it said that Christianity makes sense. That is, if you sign up with Jesus, your life will just go easier and better. Well…take a look at yesterdays’ scripture reading from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. If we really try to listen to Jesus, and really try to follow his commands, then we will find that our lives become complicated and complex. He has a lot of things to say in Matthew 5 about how to live our lives, starting with marital relations and issues of anger management. Does Jesus really expect us not to remarry after divorce, to turn the other cheek, to forgive our enemies, to go the second mile, and thereby to let our lights shine before the whole world?
Each of us has to answer to that in our own way. As I said in yesterday’s sermon, Jesus loves us enough to teach us how to live. And he loves us enough to expect that we will follow his commands. Wouldn’t it have been easier if he had presented his teachings as a set of noble ideals to be admired instead of a set of practices to be enacted?
We come to church not only to praise Jesus but also to be taught by him. Teach us, Jesus, even when your teachings challenge our cherished assumptions. Teach us, Jesus, even when your message disrupts our lives. And when you teach us, Jesus, give us the grace to hear you. And even more so, to practice in our lives what you preach to us in your sermon on the mount.