Almost an entire week ago, we gathered around the table. It’s a good tradition isn’t it, to either begin (or end) a week gathering with friends (who prayerfully feel like family), praying, listening, sharing life, and trying to hear, understand & follow God together? It is beautiful I think & a blessing. Last Sunday we gathered, we sat, we opened in prayer.
Then we began checking in, reminding ourselves the homework had been to figure out what Jesus meant & was saying when he said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men (people).”; to consider if we (you) are effective fishers of people; and to discuss what it means to be a fisher of people? What was a beautiful theme that emerged in the sharing was something that in some ways is too simple…to be a(n effective) fisher of people was to live a good life; an exemplary life; a life that is marked by grace — one where we are kind, generous, involved in our community. Scripture was referenced, reminding and inviting us to live in such a way as to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)
We didn’t leave the conversation (check-in) fully satisfied. We wrestled a little with what being effective (or what we often want “success(ful)”) means & who really gets to determine & define that (God). We held for consideration who’s job it is to “save souls” & convict hearts (the Holy Spirit). And so in different words, and from various voices — we sat in that space of being an effective fisher of people (a disciple dare I say) is to follow Christ and to live a life that is marked by the desire to follow Christ well…that is how we become (effective) fishers of people — to follow Christ.
But we turned as we do to scripture & this time to Matt. 5:1-12, the section of scripture known as the Sermon on the Mount (sermon by Jesus) & the Beatitudes. This sermon that Jesus offered to his disciples and the crowds, maybe was his best or his worst sermon, you decide. But these beatitudes are a list of couplets, blessed are (you — insert identity here) — because you get (insert thing/reality here); but they are seemingly on first read nonsensical. Perhaps actually Jesus was even introducing the first opposite day — you know when you say literally the opposite of what you mean…but that is not how we have received this teaching of Jesus, the beatitudes can be a very challenging to understand or appreciate, and yet we still yearn to know what Jesus meant & why it was important to teach us these beatitudes. And this is how we came to the homework for the week….everyone was invited to draw from the bag…and they chose 1 of these beatitudes to live with for the week & to discern:
- What does this beatitude really mean?
- What does this beatitude look like today?
- Who is blessed?
- How are they blessed? (the 2nd half of the beatitude….)
- Ex: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Who are the “poor” today? How do they have “the kingdom of heaven” today? (*or what is the “kingdom of heaven” today?)
Looking forward to learning from all y’all tomorrow. And there’s still time to discern even if this got a bit forgotten….
In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater