sexta-feira, 25 de março de 2016


How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
Psalm 133:1

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
Acts 4:32

The "paradises" that were painted of the past have more to do with dreams than with reality. The people of Israel never came to realize the ideal of living together in harmony as sisters and brothers. Internal conflicts have always been the rule and unity only an unattained dream. The church from the beginning was marked by mutual anathemas and heretic hunters. The episode of Acts 4:32-35, if true, was a short lived exception and was never repeated throughout its history. The good example of Barnabas brought on the hypocrisy of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). Personal ambition has always been present and often dominant in church history. Dreamers have been left with nothing but dreams.

Our cultural values instill in us the ME FIRST principal in opposition to the ALL OF US principal. It is difficult for us to feel deep down in our soul that our wellbeing is linked to that of all others. We somehow believe that what happens to others has little to do with us. With this mentality we ignore the uniqueness of the Gospel message that Jesus lived and taught. Our Christianity is more about theories about the person of Jesus and theological creeds and doctrines than about how to live the Kingdom of God here and now. We find ourselves ignoring and living in opposition to the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus set up as a model.

The words of the Sermon on the Mount, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added" (Mt. 6:33) put the kingdom and righteousness above all things. Here Jesus was speaking of the KINGDOM as being an alternative to insecurity. Western “civilization” has gotten so sucked up on the issue of security and self-protection that Christianity has abandoned the Kingdom and adopted the pure pagan values of physical force and coercion as priority.

Glancing at a few items of the Sermon on the Mount here are a few comments.

·        Blessed are the peacemakers: Our heroes are those whom we send heavily armed all over the globe to kill those whose only offence is to defend themselves, rather than those who go unarmed in the name of peace.
·        Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth: We approve of the retaliation of evil with evil and call it justice.
·        Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you: We deal with those whom we judge to be enemies by hating them and trying to destroy them.
·        Give to the needy: We give special treatment to the wealthy who exploit us and despise the poor who need us, blaming them for their own poverty and saying that they are lazy.
·        When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites: We insist in saying prayers in public places thinking that somehow that puts God there.
·        Looking at the speck of sawdust in our brother’s eye and paying no attention to the plank in our own eye: We let our attention be diverted to moralist splinters in the eyes of others while ignoring the great issues of violence, global devastation, poverty and injustice that afflict billions of people around the globe.
·        Do not worry about your life: We live in fear in a failed society and feel that we have to protect ourselves against real and imagined dangers, seeking safety in material things.

The basic principle of the Kingdom is solidarity. We either survive together or perish together. Bombing our enemy on the other side of the world will not make us safer at home. Eventually his fate will be our fate. The Sermon on the Mount sees this clearly.

Our challenge is to be countercultural and walk in the opposite direction of what is happening in the world today.

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