Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So it is Wednesday and I am posting my tuesday post giving you scriptures to think about and offering my first thoughts for the coming week. We comtinue our look at the Sermon on the Mount but this week we step out of order because at Northwood we are gathering as a community for our annual meeting. I have "cherry picked" a set of teachings from later in the sermon for us to hold alongside our work as a community, Matthew 7:7-14. Here it is:
7“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
12“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. 13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. 14For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Clearly Matthew is gathering disperate bits of teaching and stringing them together, not because they form a thematic whole but more likely because they were seen as authentic to Jesus and bearing the mark of the master.
For me, here is where the Sermon on the Mount shows Jesus' teaching style- the master of the one line zinger. The golden rule, the narrow gate, standing at the door and knocking, give bread not stone. These are the kinds of one liners that you can walk around with in your pocket, folk wisdom to orient your days around. And on the annual meeting day, we ask, how is it that we are offering bread, and not stone? How is it that what we offer at Northwood is a reflection of the genuine generosity of God. Are we taking the narrow way or the "Broadway?"

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