Inside out and Right Way Up? Living counter-culturally: Matthew 5 to 7
Have you ever put on a piece of clothing only to discover later on in public that you wearing the inside on the outside for the whole world to see? Or is it only me who has ever done that?
Ever been on a roller coaster that whooshed you upside down? It certainly leads to having a different view on life – if only for a few seconds! Then you are suddenly the right way up again.
During the summer, I was reflecting on 15 years since moving to the Netherlands. That reflection included checking over all the topics I have spoken about in the community of ICL. I realised that I had never taken time to work through a series of talks about what is often called the ‘Sermon On The Mount’. It is found in Matthew chapters 5 to 7.
In those chapters we read words of Jesus about how to live out being part of the ‘kingdom of heaven’. These words are not detached from real life and are radical in their reach. Words to penetrate into all aspects of our lives, society and how we respond to God, other people and the planet. Words that arguably turn things inside out and right way up! Though along the way it may seem like things are upside down!
Gandhi on a visit to London first came across these chapters and reportedly saw great worth for real life. By contrast, apparently philosopher George Bernard Shaw saw the same words as,”an impractical outburst of anarchism and sentimentality”.
Meanwhile some consider that these words may be a great ideal. Yet in reality, is what Jesus said, more of a mission impossible than anything one might see portrayed in a Tom Cruise movie?
Do these chapters have a significance for us now in 2021? Is there anything relevant as we continue to journey through the impacts of the pandemic, climate challenges, increased polarisation among people and other issues of life?
If followers of Jesus are called to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness”(Matthew 6:33), does Matthew 5 to 7 help show what Jesus meant?
That is the journey we will be on through a series of talks over the coming months. Not on every Sunday but at least some of the time each month. The series began on September 5th, so if you have missed previous talks, you can find these at:
Lives that are inside out and right way up?
Whether you are exploring if Christian faith might be true or say you are a Jesus follower, I encourage us all to take a fresh look at these words of Jesus from Matthew 5 to 7.