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Emails to God – Examining Your Theology (Matthew 5:1-12)

17 Nov

Matthew 5:1-12

1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

 

He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Dear God, this is where Jesus starts to veer from the script. I was surprised that he started out mimicking John’s message of repentance. It is almost as if he starts to get a feel for what he wants to communicate to people when he starts with this sermon. As I recall, there is nothing about repentance in this whole thing. There is a lot about being meek, be truthful, salt and light, the standard for considering yourself sin-free being a lot higher than they realized, giving to the needy, prayer and fasting, worrying, treasures in heaven, judging others, evaluating prophets, etc. In essence, this sermon seems to be about retraining their thought processes and helping them to reevaluate some of their long-held beliefs.

I am going through a process of evaluation right now. My wife is considering converting to the Catholic Church, so I am attending RCIA classes with her. Frankly, I went into it with an open mind about possibly converting if I felt you were leading me to do that. I consider the process to be kicking the tires and evaluating Catholicism in a thorough way. Well, after nearly three months of classes I am surprised at how many differences there are with most Protestant faiths. I knew there would be some, but there are more than I thought, and the ones that I knew about are actually a little bigger than I thought. The thing I have liked about it is that the classes and teachings have made me critically examine my own theology on several different issues and really think about what I believe.

The other thing that I have had to think through is how important are some of these issues to me. Do I have to agree with them to worship with them? Do I have to agree with them in order to convert? One thing I have found is that I am probably more willing to overlook our differences in opinion than they are.

Father, I want to be able to allow my faith to be challenged. I don’t want to be afraid of examining my theology because I believe it is in these times, if I do it prayerfully, that you can continue to mold me into the person you need me to be. All I ask of you is that you speak to me, hold me close to you, and help me to find your path for me at any given moment. I want to major in the majors and let someone else major in the minors. I don’t want to be distracted by details and miss the substance of who you are and what you have for me.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Matthew

 

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