Jesus Said, What?


At my church we are headed into the third week of a six-week worship series on the Sermon on the Mount ... And we're not taking on the fluffy stuff everybody likes.

You know what I mean.

The Beatitudes.  Salt and Light Stuff.   Shining Lights.  Asking, Seeking, Knocking.

No, we're going with the "You've heard it said ... But I say unto you ..." stuff.  The hard stuff.

We're getting after Jesus' teachings, not thoughts - his teachings - on anger, adultery, divorce, vows, retaliation, loving enemies ... That being said, we tend to keep the fluffy stuff fluffy and often move past the seriousness of the whole thing.

What's struck me as I've dug into these scriptures in Matthew 5 (we're staying in chapter 5 for this series), is that I haven't heard a whole lot of sermons on these things.  At least not on all of the things Jesus teaches in this VERY important text on Christian ethics.  As in, if-you-love-Jesus-these-are-things-you-should-strive-to-do ethics.

While in the midst of my studies, my wife sent me the Richard Rohr Devotional she received on Sunday, and apparently Fr. Richard has been pondering the same thing:

How is it that after two thousand years of meditation on Jesus Christ we’ve managed to avoid everything that he taught so unequivocally? This is true of every Christian denomination, even those who call themselves orthodox or doctrinally pure. We are all “cafeteria Christians.” All of us have evaded some major parts of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7): the Beatitudes, Jesus’ warning about idolizing “mammon,” his clear directive and example of nonviolence, and his command to love our enemies being the most obvious. Jesus has always been too much for us. He is the only true “orthodoxy” as far as I can see.

In fact, I have gone so far as to say, if Jesus never talked about it once, the churches will tend to be preoccupied with it ... and if Jesus made an unequivocal statement about it (for example, the rich, the camel, and the eye of a needle), we tend to quietly shelve it and forget it. This is not even hard to prove.
— Fr. Richard Rohr, "Taking Jesus Seriously"

He offers much more, but I'll leave it at that.