The Gospel we heard today is called the Sermon on the Mount, and it’s one our most beautiful stories. Close your eyes and picture it: we have Jesus on the top of the hill, and all the people sitting on the grass below him, and he’s teaching them. This might remind you of another story from the Bible, too.
You may remember that after the Hebrews are delivered from slavery in Egypt Moses climbs up a mountain and he talks to God there. Then, he teaches his people what they should do to show that they love and obey God. Moses teaches them this from the mountaintop. This is where we get the 10 Commandments, which I’m sure you remember: Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt obey they father and mother, and so on.
So this story about Jesus is a lot like the story about Moses—teaching from the mountaintop—with a couple of differences. Jesus is not just a prophet who talks to God, he is both man and God, all at once. And he doesn’t give us commandments from the mountaintop. He doesn’t say “Thou shalt” and “Thou shalt not.” Jesus gives us clues, teaching us how to live a life that is happy and holy, and how to help other peoples’ lives to be happy and holy.
So now, with your parents, read through his advice again (“The Beatitudes”) and talk a little bit with your parents about what it means to live that kind of life, a life that is full of mercy, hungry for justice, and making peace among enemies. People who live lives like this are, Jesus tells us, happy, blessed, some would even say saintly, and they make our world a much more beautiful place.
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog