Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount isn’t a sermon but a private tutorial for the disciples on who they would be ministering to and who in particular were the blessed among them. We get to hover above the scene, listening to Jesus teaching the disciples to be subversives. He is encouraging them to pay attention to people who are easy to ignore, hated, different, people without power or hope, and people who bother us with their insistence on justice. These men left their fishing boats and now they were going to live itinerant lives bringing healing and hope and blessings to lepers, widows, orphans, immigrants, tax collectors, prostitutes and the homeless. This is a very different discipleship than ministering to our friends at church who need help.
It means doing things that make us uncomfortable, anxious, uncertain. It means listening for Jesus to call us into corners of daily life we’d rather stay out of. It means being honest with ourselves and cleansing ourselves of judgement and prejudice. It means breaking down the walls of our self-righteousness. With Christ’s love, this is possible but not comfortable, not second nature and never easy. It might look like this:
- Telling our friend who drinks too much that he or she drinks too much.
- Accepting the fact that our child is not ever going to meet our expectations.
- Refusing to overlook our friend’s racist comments.
- Inviting someone to church more than once, then offering to pick them up and bring them.
- Not judging the Styrofoam cup and cardboard sign people on the off ramps but rather, give them something, or pray for them while we’re sitting there trying not to make eye contact. Imagining they are angels who’s message to us is how blessed we are.
- Going to an A.A. meeting.
- Wishing we could speak Spanish rather than being annoyed by those who do.
Blessed are they who open their minds, for they shall see God.