June 19, 2016

Words . . . and The Word

Words, words, words. There is a veritable tsunami of words bombarding us every hour of every day. We hear words, we read words, sometimes it seems as though words saturate our whole environment. Using words as weapons is far from new -- cruel, hurtful and careless words seem to have been around as long as humans have been speaking.

Craving an antidote for all this harshness, I found myself searching for words that heal, that help, and that show care and compassion. The search brought me to the Gospel of Matthew, and the words of our Lord as he began the Sermon on the Mount:

Jesus . . . began to speak, and taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
                                              Matthew 5:1-12a

The Lutheran Study Bible is an excellent source in providing insight into what Jesus was teaching his followers, and across the centuries, the same teachings are given to those of us who claim the name of Christian. Jesus is declaring people blessed in light of God's coming rule.

Then comes a most interesting statement: "The Beatitudes create what they declare"

It was pretty challenging to process something that is a mix of the complex and the simple, but continuing to the paragraph on Martin Luther's insight, we learn that Luther understood
God's spoken word as creative power, not simply information. God's word called the universe and everything in it into existence. Therefore, when God speaks, God's word creates what it declares. Since the Beatitudes are God's own words, the blessings are real and immediate.

When you read and reflect for a while, you realize that what we have here is a statement of beautiful simplicity, which goes to the foundation of our faith. As we speak words of truth and forgiveness, of love and understanding for all people, we are both privileged and called to share God's creative power, which has strength and substance far beyond the human noise all around.

Your friend in Christ,

Mary Rogers
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