Wednesday, August 23, 2006

blessed, salt and light

In Dietrich Bonhoeffer's, The Cost of Discipleship, he looks at our Lord's "the Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 5-7). It seems a kind of manifesto by Jesus, of the kingdom of God come in him.

Reading Bonhoeffer, I see ourselves as evangelicals to have widely missed the mark. Is what we're all about congruent to and in harmony with this kingdom that Jesus describes? It does make it hard, when one of our theologies, dispensationalism, has in the past declared this sermon to be for another time and people, not for the church in this age. And when another one of our theologies, reformed, has certainly practiced (Calvin's Geneva) and thought on community. Yet not as those sufficiently hearing our Lord's words in this sermon.

We're blessed as those who are completely countercultural to the world. Is cross bearing no longer necessary (and perhaps dying on that cross) since our Lord has died, been resurrected and is now exalted at the right hand of God in power? Not if we are his Body on earth, sent by him, as he was sent by the Father. This blessedness seems a curse in the world's eyes, and they would cast us out. But God's promises are true, as to what this blessedness consists. Really all things, in our Father's home. On those who are no-things (or at least, curiosities), in the world's eyes.

We're salt and light to this world. We're to not lose that saltiness, nor hide our light under a bowl. Instead, people are to see our good deeds as given to us from Christ. It is to be no less than Christ, and our becoming like him in his death, that is to be the life we live by faith in this world. People must see Jesus and his cross in our lives: in our words and deeds.

Having said all that, as moved to do so from reading Bonhoeffer, I must say I fear we are in danger of not really taking our Lord's "manifesto" of God's kingdom seriously. It is a life individually and in community, lived out before the world (and each other) that is Jesus-oriented to the bone. Not oriented to any entity here on earth. Impacting the world in an unworldy way. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Ted Gossard said...

Again I make a comment on my own posting. Something I really don't want to practice.

I've had second thoughts about it. I do want to be very careful not to be downing others among us.

I am just thinking, so as to challenge us, to the question- What does Jesus' "sermon on the mount" mean - and if applicable to us- how, and does our theological models and practice line up with it? Something like all of that.

Certainly anabaptists among us are not without fault here either (as in hiding our light under a bowl?), even though it is central to their theology.

Thanks to all, for your grace, mercy and patience with me. Let's think together.

Ted Gossard said...

Also, I want to say, that Bonhoeffer makes me think along these lines. And he does disagree with Calvin on a matter in the book, I was just reading.

But we can think together, in love, as we seek to live in fellowship together, in the Truth.

Makeesha said...

I understood what you were saying, and agree. I think perhaps it comes down to focus and the "why's" of what we do.

Ted Gossard said...

Thanks for your thought.
Our focus and motive is certainly important. It is surely to be Christ-centered. Both as to end, and means to that end. I'm sure there is much to say on that.

Reading Bonhoeffer is contributing to my wrestling anew on what it means to be "the Jesus community" in the world.