Sermon Summary for Sunday, February 12th, 2017 | Respectfully Submitted by Mal Underwood
In Sunday’s continuing study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount from the Gospel of Matthew, Mo. Mary began by reminding us of the first two installments where we are taught about our blessedness and our essence as life to the world. Today’s lesson focuses on the law – not as law handed down and sternly enforced by a judgmental Creator, but as a guide for living in the kingdom with our brothers and sisters as harmoniously as possible. As we were reminded, some see God as a finger-pointing, punitive judge while others see him as a loving heavenly Father or Mother primarily concerned with our happiness and well-being.
It is in this context that Mo. Mary shared the insight that while breaking God’s law is harmful to us individually by weakening our spiritual strength and separating us from communion with God, it is also harmful to those around us with whom we live, worship, work, and play. Today’s lesson from Jesus’ sermon mentions several specific sins – anger with your brother or sister, adultery, divorce, and dishonesty are among the highlighted transgressions. Mo. Mary shared a story of sin and redemption of someone in her life, reminding us that while we all fall short of the glory of God, our Savior and Redeemer restores us to spiritual health through our acknowledgement, repentance and metanoia – that is, a turning around to the pursuit of righteousness. We are reoriented, reconciled and restored to community and life with God. We are able to choose life and share the love of Christ with all.
God’s enforcement of the law also provides us protection. Mo. Mary shared a story of an older brother who was physically threatening his younger sister. As their mother intervened, he says, “I can do whatever I want – she’s my sister.” The mother restrains him and says, “no you can’t – she’s my daughter.” Similarly, the image of God as loving parent is manifest when he intervenes on our behalf with those who would harm us, saying, “no you can’t – she (or he) is mine.” God’s law and his presence across the universe protect his beloved children from harm.
The law is a gift from God to guide us to healthy spiritual living with Him and each other. We can choose life and love by living within it. Our adherence to the law is our gift back to God in gratitude for all He has given us.