Liveblogging the Sermon on the Mount

For no other reason than because I can.

I’m sure I must have been exposed to this at some point in my childhood but this is the first time I have ever consciously read it. Let’s see if we learn anything!

Matthew 5

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
What does “poor in spirit” mean? Like, sad? Depressed? Doubters? Well, in any case it pays to be one.

13 “You are the salt of the earth
Oh, well that’s nice!

but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
…oh. :-/

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others…”
I really like that.

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Whoa, wait, what? Does that mean that all the Old Testament stuff is supposed to still apply? Like, not mixing fabrics, observing the Sabbath, stoning women who aren’t virgins? Maybe I’m reading that wrong, but that’s how it seems to me. Where does one even get that many stones? And I thought the poor in spirit got heaven. Are the poor in spirit also righteous? I guess the 2 wouldn’t have to be mutually exclusive.

22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
But what if the person really is a fool?

32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Does the new woman who marries the divorced man also make him commit adultery or is that a crime only capable by women?

46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Two thoughts: I like what’s being said here; and now I see where Mormons get that term.

Matthew 6

1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them…”

6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
I wonder how people who go to megachurches feel about that.

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For some reason I thought that Catholic had invented the Lord’s Prayer and so I never paid much attention to it. In any case, reading it on its own merit, I like it. I might add it into my repertoire.

26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Why is there a hierarchy?

27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 7

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
I’ve just blatantly seen this not be true. I’ve tried to ask Christian friends about it and the response is generally, “God always answers; sometimes the answer is no/not right now.” Which I think is a fair enough way to respond but then, why not say that? Why not say, “Ask, and when it is appropriate, it will be given to you. Seek, and when you are ready, you will find. When your knock is heard, it will be opened to you.”? And everyone gets this privilege? Not just believers or the righteous? “Ask, and when you are worthy, it will be given to you.” I don’t know. I just think that could have been a lot clearer.

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…”

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
But–umm–*sigh* People who legitimately thought they were doing God’s work will be told “I never knew you.”??? That’s so harsh! Not atheists or blasphemers but people who casted out demons and prophesied?? This would make more sense to me if there were a stipulation about the intentions of these people but that isn’t explicated. Makes me think, what if the Christians are right and you get to heaven and God’s at the front gate (never understood why heaven had gates, like it’s in a bad neighborhood or something) and says, “Yeah, no, I’m sorry. Presbyterians only.”

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Sometimes I feel like my understanding of Christianity is the second house.

I guess I should have some closing remarks. I don’t. The tone is certainly more stern that I thought it was going to be. I thought I would like it more. I didn’t, but that’s okay. I didn’t dislike it. I got this underlying disdain from it and I’m trying to figure out how to reconcile that with the bits I did enjoy.

About J.

A former twentysomething with a head full of curls and heart full of questions wondering: when we get to nirvana, will there be food?
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