October 15, 2017

Video by Steve Parker of Cascades Presbytery.

The Sermon on the Mount was Ghandi’s “go to” text for the Jesus way of non-violent resistance. These three chapters (5, 6, and 7) of Matthew’s Gospel crystallize the most valued ethical teachings that have been attributed of Jesus.

“I revere the Bible. Christ’s sermon on the mount fills me with bliss even today. Its sweet verses have even today the power to quench my agony of the soul.” 
–Mahatma Gandhi

Matthew 5:1-11 Scholars’ Version
Taking note of the crowds, he climbed up the mountain, and when he had sat down his disciples came to him. He then began to speak, and this is what he would teach them:
Right: Congratulations to the poor in spirit! Heaven’s domain belongs to them.
Left: Congratulations to those who grieve! They will be consoled.
Right: Congratulations to the gentle! They will inherit the earth.
Left: Congratulations to those who hunger and thirst for justice! They will have a feast.
Right: Congratulations to the merciful! They will receive mercy.
Left: Congratulations to those with undefiled hearts! They will see God.
Right: Congratulations to those who work for peace! They will be known as God’s children.
Left: Congratulations to those who have suffered persecution for the sake of justice! Heaven’s domain belongs to them.
Congratulations to you when they denounce you and persecute you and spread malicious gossip about you because of me.
All: Rejoice and be glad! Your compensation is great in heaven. Recall that this is how they persecuted the prophets who preceded you.

Matthew 6:24-30 Scholars’ Version
No one can be a slave to two masters. No doubt that slave will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and disdain the other. You can’t be enslaved to both God and a bank account!

That’s why I tell you: Don’t fret about your life—what you’re going to eat and drink—or about your body—what you’re going to wear. There is more to living than food and clothing, isn’t there? Take a look at the birds of the sky: they don’t plant or harvest, or gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Parent feeds them. You’re worth more than they, aren’t you? Can any of you add one hour to life by fretting about it? Why worry about clothes? Notice how the wild lilies grow: they don’t slave and they never spin. Yet let me tell you, even Solomon at the height of his glory was never decked out like one of them. If God dress up the grass in the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into an oven, won’t God care for you even more, you don’t take anything for granted?

Matthew 7:3-12 Scholars’ Version
Why do you notice the sliver in your friend’s eye, but overlook the timber in your own? How can you say to your friend, ‘Let me get the sliver out of your eye,’ when there is that timber in your own? You phony, first take the timber out of your own eye and then you’ll see well enough to remove the sliver from your friend’s eye.

Don’t offer to dogs what is sacred, and don’t throw your pearls to pigs, or they’ll trample them underfoot and turn and tear you to shreds.

Ask—it’ll be given to you; seek—you’ll find; knock—it’ll be opened for you. Rest assured: Everyone who asks receives; everyone who seeks finds; and for the one who knocks it is opened. Who among you would hand a child a stone when it’s bread s/he’s asking for? Of course no one would! So if you, shiftless as you are, know how to give your children good gifts, isn’t it much more likely that your Parent in the heavens will give good things to those who ask?

Consider this: Treat people in ways you want them to treat you.

Matthew 5:44-45 Scholars’ Version
Love your enemies….God causes the sun to rise on both the bad and the good, and sends rain on both the just and the unjust.

Matthew 6:9-13. Scholars’ Version
Our Father [and Mother] in the heavens,
Your name be revered.
Impose your imperial rule,
Enact your will on earth as you have in heaven.
Provide us with the bread we need for the day.
Forgive our debts
To the extent that we have forgiven those in debt to us.
And please don’t subject us to test after test.