Thought for the Day: The word Kingdom is one of those words that is a bit dated, while also remaining somewhat relevant. We all have watched enough movies where the setting is some sort of kingdom. For that reason, we understand the general concept, yet as Americans we celebrate our victory over a specific kingdom a few hundred years ago. And we don’t really want to go back.
Today (and tomorrow), we will begin the new study on Dr. Amy-Jill Levine’s book, Sermon on the Mount: A Beginner’s Guide to The Kingdom of Heaven. For Dr. Levine, the Sermon on the Mount is exactly what she suggested in the title – a beginner’s guide to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Sermon on the Mount tells us…
…that the kingdom of heaven is not some abstract place with pearly gates and golden slippers, harp music, and a bunch of angels flapping their wings. The kingdom of heaven occurs when people take the words of Jesus in these chapters to heart and live into them.
As she goes on to suggest, “Heaven is a different place, a better place, a real place, a place where God rules and life is as God wants rather than as humanity has constructed.” And when this Kingdom of Heaven makes an appearance on earth, it is through the human affirmation of the vision presented in the Sermon on the Mount. Early in Matthew’s Gospel, we hear about the announcement of the good news of the kingdom. Let’s be honest here, it was not necessarily good news for everyone. The Sermon on the Mount was (and is) controversial, stirring up all kinds of discomfort and anger. When a Sermon challenges the comfort of the comfortable, usually the preacher gets fired or crucified. Jesus understood it well. Do we?
Prayer: O God whose kingdom has come to earth in Jesus of Nazareth, walk alongside us as we venture into these powerful and challenging words. Amen.
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Rev. Bruce Frogge