Murals (2008) by PHANTAST - Graffiti - Cultural Music & Art Association inc. - 98 Milne St. Benleigh

beatitudes-150x150The contrast between the delivery of this sermon (Luke 6) and the delivery of the Law in Sinai (Exodus 20):


1. That was a "fiery law", whose promulgation was surrounded by the imagery of thunders and lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet sounding long and waxing louder and louder. We think of this as flowing forth in divinest music amid all the calm and loveliness of the quiet dawn.

2. That came dreadfully to the startled conscience from an Unseen Presence, shrouded by wreathing clouds, and destroying fire, and eddying smoke; this was uttered by a sweet human voice that moved the heart most gently in words of peace.

3. That was delivered on the desolate and storm-rent hill which seems with its red granite crags to threaten the scorching wilderness; this on the flowery grass of the green hill-side which slopes down to the silver lake.

4. That shook the heart with terror and agitation; this soothed it with peace and love.

And yet, Jesus came not to abolish that Law, but to obey and to fulfill.

The sermon began, not with commands and menaces, but with the word "blessed" and with an octave of beatitudes. The people were expecting  a Messiah who should break the yoke off their necks, who should stand on the shore of Joppa, and bid the sea pour out its pearls and treasure at His feet... But Christ reveals to them another King, another happiness- the riches of poverty, the royalty of meekness, the high beatitude of sorrow and persecution.  This new Law , which should not only command but also aid, was to be beneficial at once, as salt to preserve the world from corruption, and a light to guide it in the darkness.

The command "Thou shalt not murder" was extended to angry words and feelings of hatred. The germ of adultery was shown to be involved in a lascivious look. The prohibition of perjury was extended to every vain and unnecessary oath. The law of equivalent revenge was superseded by a law of absolute self-abnegation. The love due to our neighbour was  extended also to our enemy. Henceforth the children of the kingdom were to aim at nothing less that this -namely, to be perfect, as their Father in heaven is perfect.

In the new life which was to issue from the new Law: alms were to be given, not with noisy ostentation, but in modest secrecy; Prayers were to be uttered, not with hypocritic publicity, but in holy solitude; Fasting was to be exercised, not as a belauded virtue, but as a private self-denial. All these acts of devotion were to be offered with sore reference to the love of God the Father. And the service, to be sincere, must be entire and undistracted. And what should be the basis of such service? The self -examination which issues in a gentleness which will not condemn, in a charity that cannot believe, in an ignorance that will not know, the sins of others(Dean Farrar).

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