The Sermon on the Mount (at Box Hill)

It seems appropriate to be considering Jesus’s famous “Sermon on the Mount” in the Church of St Andrew’s Box Hill.

Jesus’s words to his followers are set out in Chapters 5-8 of the Gospel of Matthew and address some big issues of ongoing relvance and importance:

“How should I live?”
“How can I be happy?”
“Is the pursuit of material things the route to happiness or misery?”

The fact that Jesus addressed these issues as part of his Gospel is one of the things that keeps Christianity constantly interesting, demanding our attention, and his response – to put aside material things – makes Christianity difficult and demanding as way of life, as a decision about how to live one’s life

Because we all worry about money, we all worry about what we eat, what we wear. We worry about the future

And it makes us miserable

But what does Christianity have to offer by way of an answer in these difficult times?

Chritianity says: –

  • Trust God
  • Go to Church
  • Count your blessings
  • Say your prayers
  • Read the bible
  • Do nice things for people
  • Don’t worry – Be happy

Interestingly if you read any of the modern self-help books they will tell you to:

  • Get out of the house
  • Count your blessings
  • Read something
  • Meditate
  • Help others
  • Don’t worry – be happy

Sound familiar?

Christ knew us and had a message for us that is as relevant to us now as it was then.

The bible deals constantly with the relationship between man and God and tells of our predecessors who had been in trouble, suffering, looking for help – and no where is this more true than in the Psalms.

From Psalm 131

There is a wonderful verse in the Psalm set for today which tells how a previous person found comfort from God’s love in the midst all the hurly burly:

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child (a toddler) with its mother; my soul is like the child that is with me.

A weaned child is a child that is self-sufficient but lives under the care and guidance of its mother

This is how we live with God, independent but under care and love

We had another powerful image from childhood in the reading from Isaiah today:

“Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.”

Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb?

Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.

As we begin to think about the beginning of Lent next week, this image of writing a name on your palm to remember to do something acquires an extraordinary resonance as a premonition of Christ’s crucifixion.

But let us not think ahead too much but rather enjoy today and all its blessings

From our Gospel Matthew 6 31-34

Therefore do not worry, saying, `What will we eat?’ or `What will we drink?’ or `What will we wear?’ … your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today let us deal with what matters today.”

Count our blessings, help others, go to Church and be happy!

Amen

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