This is the twelfth
of our ongoing series
The Sermon On The Mount
Matthew 5:1 - 7:28
Dear All of Us,
So, how about this?
It seems some of the rich and famous
among us here in the States
are buying up country villas in Italy
and applying for Italian citizenship.
Nice work if you can get it!!
For sure that's top of the line
Come to think of it,
we of more modest means and of lesser note
also have something of a dual citizenship.
We live at once in two zones.
They are named and
- the sacred and the secular
- Empire and the Kingdom of God
- the world and the reign of God
They overlap and intertwine.
That can trip us up.
Country and commerce
can become a national religion,
flag and finance for cross.
Or it can flip us the opposite way
into bunker religion,
disengaged and isolated.
All this gets dicey doubled.
That's because it's impossible to be
total to two.
That goes for love of person
or allegiance to domain.
A split heart means a death.
"You cannot serve two masters."
Jesus prioritized domain/citizenship
by word and example. He lived
redeeming damaged potential,
intimate with Abba, caringly close to all,
drawing separateness to union.
He did that in an occupied country under
unjust, corrupt, violent domination.
He dealt with it, but he didn't
pledge allegiance to it.
He did not worship at Empire's altar of ultimate.
Heart and soul he lived and preached
The kingdom of God.
He didn't try to reform the system.
Empire cannot be reformed.
It can be replaced by Kingdom.
Until then live Kingdom in the midst of Empire.
That's what Jesus did.
He stopped for red lights and paid his taxes for sure,
but his life and alligence was centered in
The Kingdom Of God.
"Render unto Caesar the things
that are Caesar's and unto God
the things that are God's."
He spoke Kingdom Life in word and living.
He prayed to Abba that
"Thy kingdom come on earth
as it is in heaven."
This is where we come in.
This is where we accept or reject.
This is where we kick into gear or stall out.
And it's hard because most of us grew up
in terribly compromised churches
that didn't even know they were.
Before ever Constantine stole the church
and sold it to Empire,
the Gospel had been shrunk
to a sliver of itself, passed off
- as ideas (doctrines),
- a belonging system -
active or otherwise,
but dues paid,
- prescribed practices (ritual),
- a spirituality of personal salvation
and private piety.
We have a lot of religion
(Richard Rohr recently termed it
"Junk Religion," as in junk food -
feel good but not good for healthy living).
A "step back and take a good look" survey
of many religions sadly sees little actual, for real,
sweaty, sweet Kingdom spirit
and the "go for broke" living of it.
Hey, that's a bit challenging!
OK, it's darn strong!
Sure is and we need to face the flaw.
Just check out The Sermon on the Mount
and see how close many-most religions come to it.
It's the gold standard.
It is Jesus' description of disciples alive
in the Kingdom now and to come.
We do well to check our priorities,
our values, our life styles.
Where do we really land and live?
Where is our allegiance and primary citizenship?
Kingdom Life is to be lived right here, right now
in the midst of Empire, radically and really so.
It means big time change in valuation and practice.
It means being counter cultural and taking hits for it.
It means coming at life angled by the Beatitudes,
not poetically but practically:
- simple, uncomplicated (poor in spirit),
- non stressed and non stressing (meek),
- working to get people, place, and
society turned right and real (righteous),
- always giving others a break (merciful),
knowing it'll ultimately come back at us,
- putting the pieces back together
rather than slamming everything and one
to pieces (peacemaker),
- taking it on the chin, in the gut,
even in the pocketbook,
working to right wrong (persecutions)
It means being changed and being a change agent -
"salt of the earth, light of the world" -
"disciple different" and it shows.
It means allowing God to convert the energy of anger
to the dynamic of love,
hurt experienced to healing returned
(anger management, non retaliation).
It means honest plain talk true -
"Yes, Yes, or No, No",
not the phony, slick takes and double talk
of advertisers, bureaucrats and politicians.
It means loving the socks off the people
who would steal the shirt off you back,
those who plague - pillage us the most.
It means prayerful intimacy with Abba.
It means stock piling in the bank of share and gift
not with running after Chase or Bank of Anything.
"For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also."
It means not being a Worry Waste,
addictively stockpiling stuff.
It means being in Kingdom flow
and trusting Abba to provide.
"But strive first for the kingdom of God
and his righteousness
(his getting things "righted")
and all these things
(our real needs)
will be given to you as well."
It means the deal of a lifetime.
"Don't judge, so that
you may not be judged."
(after the way I've lived, I'm all in!!).
It means the best you want in life
is just exactly what you do for others.
"Do unto others..."
You'll become the gift you give.
It means being more than talk.
It means being the real deal.
"Not everyone who says to me
(will be in on the win)
...but only the one who does
the will of my Father..."
Yes, in some ways we have Dual Citizenship,
but in all reality we have only one real homeland,
The Kingdom of God.
Jesus invites us in and active.
He shows and tells how good it is, our
oh so good for sure,
A WARM HEARTED WELCOME
to our first timers here at
spirituality for the street
- it is posted by mid-day on Thursday
east coast USA time
- is available by email delivery on Friday
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- past postings are available from
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"The Kingdom of God
is among you."
Again I ask prayer for us here in the USA.
We are in crisis.
Please pray that we may move free from
these times of turmoil.
Counting on you!