We love mountains . . . but not what happens to those who climb them.

Our texts for this week have a connection to high places. They may not be the highest places. But, the topographical pictures given by these locations and the events that occur there make them places to consider. For instance, Micah uses poetry to paint a picture for the case against the people of God who seem to make God feel rejected, if not neglected. We read, “plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.” God then is heard sounding an awful lot like a disrespected parent. You know the feelings. “After all I have done for you, this is the way to treat me?” Read Micah 6:1-8 carefully. See, if it is not enough to make you uncomfortable reading how God feels about the people of Israel who seem to remember little and disregard much. And, once the people are made aware of their error come off sounding like the victim themselves. They are ready to go overboard in response to hearing God sound so forlorn. You know how children often over promise when they sense they have hurt your feelings. All you want is something simple. The people are reminded, “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” These are not new things. They are the same things. Over and over. Over and over.

Matthew presents Jesus to us in what is referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. Maybe here he is calling attention to the time Moses went up on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. Here, Jesus opens up what these things mean in ways obstructed by the laws upon laws upon laws people made and used to way “other” people down. Here, as one person reflected, Jesus gives not the ways to be “happy.” Instead, he gives the ways in which God uses the neglected, down-trodden, the marginalized, the weak of the world to show what the Kingdom, the one in the Heavens, looks like. Maybe we should think about blessing in the way we find it ordered in the Scripture – no in response to a close parking spot, the last item on the shelf, or the raise from the promotion. Blessing appears to be the forerunner for usefulness. In our modern times, blessing means “we got something good.” Read carefully and you may discover how blessing meant used for a higher purpose. Abram would become Abraham and be blessed so as to be used to bless the world. In Scriptures people who understood the blessing of wealth used it for the good of the Way of God, the Kingdom, not to note how they had been “blessed by God” with wealth.

Using the weak things to confound the strong, the foolish to trouble the wise, seems to be God’s habit not his exception. The Apostle Paul takes off on this theme when he reminds the Corinthian Church he used the cross and all that it represented to raise the hopes of people. Rather than in power, God would come in weakness. So, when we read the Songwriter penning words to sing, he considers the qualifications for those who will be able to keep God company on his “holy hill.” The descriptions seem more to fit the words of Jesus in Matthew 5, the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1, and Micah’s words from long ago.

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Jesus invites people into his life and his way. He takes what is and points to the new way of the Kingdom of God.  Come see what this journey is all about!

One way to think about the mission of Jesus - He calls into question the way things are and points to the way things may be in the Kingdom of God. 

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