Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt
Read Matthew 5
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
More thoughts for meditation
“If you seek holiness of life, I encourage you to make a good friend of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It is an expanded commentary on the royal law of love. And Jesus’ life is an expanded commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. I find it endlessly moving to watch how Jesus walked among people, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, and bringing good news to the oppressed. Always appropriate. Always able. Always giving the touch that was needed. Always speaking the word that was needed. It is a wonder and a marvel. We see Jesus consistently doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. We see in him such deeply ingrained ‘holy habits’ that he is always ‘response-able,’ always able to respond appropriately. This is purity of heart. This is the virtuous life.
To see the vision of the Holiness Tradition in all its robust dynamic, we need to look no further. This brief look at the holiness of Jesus calls us to a more consistent life, a more obedient life, a more fruitful life. Jesus, who lived fully every teaching of the Sermon on the Mount long before he taught it, shows us the way.” (pp. 8-9)—from the Six Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster
Personally, Foster’s main stream is the “holiness” tradition. But within the Sermon on the Mount we can see each of the six streams shown in the pie chart above. The ultimate call of Jesus is to wholeness. Jesus is our guide to all of the streams; we are invited into all of them. We may emphasize one, or feel at home in one more than another, but the call of the Lord’s great message is to open our hearts to the fullness of living water. We are welcome to enter the water of life no matter how it is delivered; from whatever stream we enter we can navigate to all the rest.
What did you decide? What might be your “home stream?”
Suggestions for action
The Sermon on the Mount calls good people to examine the basis of their faith. If the basis is rooted in law and self-reliance, then the Sermon is quite a confrontation. If the basis is rooted in seeking God and in finding God when revelation is right in front of them (as in Jesus!), then the sermon has Truth in it. Examine your faith and see if it has the spark that leads to wholeness; see if God is comfortable being the object of your faith.
Read a piece of the Sermon on the Mount again. Maybe you just have time for the beatitudes (today’s reading), maybe just chapter 5, or maybe you can carve out enough time for the whole thing (Matthew 5-7). Read it as a “wonder and a marvel.” Praise God for Jesus’ living fully every teaching in it. Praise God for the ways you have seen others in your life and throughout history live it. Make plans for living it out in some way today that you can tell someone about.
For much more on the topic of wholeness, here is a professor investigating “shalom.”
Today is Richard Twiss Day! Appreciate a champion for Jesus among Native Americans at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Jesus.