We pick back up with the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5 this week and we hear metaphors for the ways we are asked to magnify God’s presence in the world. We hear about salt and light, and then there are the implications of an intensification of the commandments just given through the beatitudes that Jesus seems to be suggesting. What does it mean for us to magnify God?
Think about it, a magnifying glass doesn’t just make the text appear bigger – that’s only the technical change. The more important change, the adaptation that the magnifying glass offers to us, is that it enables us to see differently. The magnification intensifies and in doing so makes something we might have overlooked become more plain to see.
Jesus is making a point here. That it is incredibly important to really understand what God is asking of us in the beatitudes. Not that we just need to make adherence to the law a bigger part of our faith. Jesus isn’t throwing away any of the Old Testament, but he is raising a question about the ways that faithful people may have focused on certain aspects to the exclusion of others. The beatitudes should bring us up short for the ways that we still turn away and neglect to join in the work with and for those who seek peace, who need mercy, those who are hungry, thirsty, or struggling. We focus on changing those who we want to be more like us.
We make the same mistakes that Jesus is highlighting in this sermon. Instead of our being mutually transformed into beloved community, as this sermon asks us to be, we focus on (and enlarge) differences that can separate us. Join us on Sunday, as I continue to unpack the sort of magnifiers we are asked to be in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
– Pastor Christy