To say that there’s a lot in this passage is an understatement. The Beatitudes, light in the world, fulfillment of the law, anger, adultery, divorce, retaliation, love for enemies, and that’s just the first part of the Sermon on the Mount! There’s still more to come. At first, I was praying about this passage in a sense of trying to find one key thing to focus on in an image – maybe about love for enemies or about one of the other topics. What came to me though was this evening at a retreat center where I am spending a few days. They have a beautiful prayer labyrinth built into one of the walks around the property. Ever since encountering a labyrinth for the first time several years ago, I have found them to be profoundly moving experiences of prayer and devotion. What was unique about this one was the fact that they have this sign that points where to enter the labyrinth. That’s how I feel about Jesus’ words here in the Sermon on the Mount – this is the first step into the following of Jesus. In the words here from Jesus, you can see the goal – a transformed world and transformed lives. But there’s a long way to get there. Walking a prayer labyrinth is like that as well – there are times as you walk that you come close to the center only to circle back away and be back right by the outside. But as long as you keep walking, you will reach the center. You will reach the goal. I feel that with Jesus here – yes this is the beginning and yes it feels like there a lot here to try to follow. But…keep walking. Keep walking. Keep walking. Keep following. And we will come to the heart of God’s will for our world and our lives.
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