Monday, March 21, 2011

Sermon on the Mount 1: Beattitudes

Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12

Focus: “Pure in heart”

Reflection: What is purity? Where can it be found? My heart yearned for a purity as I read the passage, a known purity, like a faint memory of a time long ago. Purity for me feels to me like it can be found in an archeological soul dig, a thing buried, but still present. I have felt pure and I like the feeling, but it also felt uneasy. It was innocent, tender, and vulnerable. I could be shaped, but I felt somewhat out of control. I trusted, sometimes with little information to go on, sometimes in ways that would forever alter the trajectory of my life. I was like a child…I was a child. I know that purity is still there - there is at least purity potential in me. I want to be pure in heart (again).

Is there purity in everyone? Is it fragile? Are some people pure while others are not? Was everyone born pure and some let it go while others kept hold of it? If purity can be released or let go of, can it ever be regained, recovered, or reborn inside someone? I have wondered this before. Since I cannot experience someone else’s experience, I do not know what it is like to be another person. On the other hand, if there is some sort of image of God that comprises everyone, then there must be some sense of purity in everyone. Or at least it was there at once. I suppose being free people means being free to jettison purity and never look back.

Jesus says that the pure in heart will see God. What does that mean? Are these the people going to Heaven? Does it mean that they will see God in the afterlife? I wonder if that is really what Jesus is getting at. Is it really for the innocent who can wait out this life? I wonder if perhaps Jesus is going for something else. Maybe the pure in heart can see God right now. What appears to be the everyday and ordinary to most people, the pure in heart noticed God in it all. Maybe the pure in heart see God everywhere, all the time.

Do they see God in the beauty of nature?

Do they see God in a larger redemptive work, even in pain and suffering?

Do they see God in the timing of things, whether it is convenient or frustrating?

What is it exactly these pure in heart people are seeing when they see God?

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