What I’m Thinking: Not a Walk in the Meadow

Jesus told his followers – told us – to be lights in the world, true lights. It’s a challenge.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 5:13-20): the continuation of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

It begins with one of the best known of Jesus’ sayings: “You are the light of the world.” Jesus encouraged his hearers to be like a lamp on a lamp stand, one that would give light to all the house, to everyone around. He also warns that this needs to be a true light. “Your righteousness,” he said, “needs to exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees.”

In this, Jesus was consistent with the age-old messages of the Hebrew prophets. They had encouraged a righteousness both individual and corporate; that is, one of the person and one of the community, all across the centuries. Jesus stepped right into that tradition and echoed it — frequently, of course, by quoting some of the prophets of the ages past.

It is a constant challenge to us, the followers of Jesus, to remember to hold to that kind of righteousness, choose that kind of consideration of other people, to personal integrity, to building societies that have integrity and compassion, societies that do not hold some down in order that others might rise up. “Your righteousness has to exceed those of the scribes and the Pharisees,” Jesus said: exceed the righteousness of the most righteous people anybody could think of.

Following Jesus isn’t… it’s not simply a walk in the meadow to appreciate the beauty of the earth. Following Jesus also means dealing with we all the awkward, difficult, and sometimes painful questions of existence, of asking why some are rich and some are poor, of seeking to comfort those who have experienced terrible loss, of seeking to end wars and violence when we just don’t know how that can be done.

Let us do our best today and each day to make our righteousness exceed that of the most righteous people we can imagine. In doing so we will follow Jesus.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on January 30, 2023

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