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Foundations

Psalm 46
Matthew 7:21-29

The reading about the wise person building on rock and the foolish person building on sand, comes at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, a collection of teachings by Jesus, Jesus implores his followers to trust his teaching and to take action based on God’s word.

Jesus’ clear programme for his ministry, seems to have been about the kingdom of God which is not about life after death, but is spread out among us, as he tells us. Is there for us to open our eyes and our hearts to. The kingdom also has social implications. It asks what would the world be like if God were in charge, rather than our Caesar and his puppet Herod.

In the sermon on the mount we have teachings which Jesus says are foundational. First he speaks the Beatitudes: Jesus’ manifesto of upside down power. Surely it is the blueprint Jesus gives for what the kingdom would look like….

Blessed are those who know their need of God; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs,
How blest are the sorrowful; they shall find consolation.
How blest are those of gentle spirit; they shall have the earth for their possession.
How blest are those who hunger and thirst to see right prevail; they shall be satisfied.
How blest are those who show mercy; mercy shall be shown to them.
How blest are those whose hearts are pure; they shall see God.
How blest are the peacemakers God shall call them his children.
How blest are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of right; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Powerful foundations Jesus gives for the lives of those who would follow. Foundations which continue to challenge us, foundations which continue to remind us that the Jesus way is not the way of most of the culture and empires of this world.

The sermon on the mount makes it clear that following Jesus is about a path, a way that focuses on healing, on justice, on non-violence, on reaching out to the stranger, even to the enemy. It is a path of personal spiritual growth and transformation to allow the God Self to emerge. But it is also about how one lives this new kingdom life out in the world. Other foundational teachings in this sermon on the mount are the call for followers to allow the life of God to come through them into the world…the call to be salt to the world and light to the world. A call for us to let our light shine so that all can see to bring light to others. A call to immerse ourselves in the life of the world so that we can bring flavour and zest. Living in this way is wise and makes strong foundations says Jesus.

Also in the sermon on the mount are teachings is a challenging call to not put limits on our love and our goodness; There are messages about loving your neighbour but also loving your enemy, praying for your persecutors, not nursing anger and resentment, settling conflict in a peaceful way about responding in a non-violent way, teachings about forgiveness. Teachings we still struggle to embody in our lives.

And there are foundational lessons about inner transformation and outer practise. Don’t store up treasures on earth where it grows rusty and moth-eaten and thieves break in and steal it. Store spiritual treasures, Be rich in God. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

And then there is the foundational teaching about making sure we see with eyes clear of bias and prejudice….The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eyes are sound” that is if you are seeing clearly, you will have light in your whole body. If they eyes are seeing in a distorted way, your whole body will be darkness. Those of us who work in Healing Pathways and other spiritual healing practices know how literally true this statement is.

Then comes the teaching of last week on non-anxious living. Consider the lilies of the field, the birds of the air…God gives them all they need. Don’t be anxious and worry about things you have no control over. Tune into the rhythms of creation..
And the key line..Seek ye first the kingdom of God and God’s justice and all these things will follow.

Some other one liners of foundational wisdom in this powerful teaching that we call the sermon on the mount…

“Always treat others as you would like them to treat you”
“Pass no judgement, and you will not be judged”
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye, with never a thought of the great plank in your own?”

“Ask and you shall receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.”

“Enter by the narrow gate; the gate that leads to life is small and the road narrow.”
“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit “

And it is only after all of these foundational teachings that Jesus uses the powerful metaphor we read today. When the one who hears these words of mine and acts on them. He is like a person who had the sense to build his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods rose, the wind blew and beat upon that house; but it did not fall because its foundations were on rock.

If you were to identify the foundations on which you build your life what would they be? What would be the core spiritual foundation…and I’m not talking about what you believe or don’t believe…but about what spiritual truth roots your life and your actions. What would be your ethical foundation?
What would be foundational about how you approach life? How you approach other people? How you approach people who are different from you? How you approach your understanding of your place in this church? In your family? In the world? In your relationship with the Holy?

Many of us have unconscious messages that we give ourselves that destroy foundations…Messages like “ we don’t matter” “ we aren’t good enough”, “ we can’t make a difference with our lives”, “the powerful will always win”, Many of us live our lives in an unconscious way, unaware of our ego and the many false selves and roles that we operate out of. Jesus would tell us I think, that this kinds of living is building on sand. It will not withstand adversity and chaos. It will crumble in a storm.

He would invite us to a deeper way of seeing ourselves, a deeper way of connecting with God, a deeper way of being in the world that he probably would call kingdom living…Being alive and awake to our sacred Self, being alive and awake to the Creating One, Offering our lives to being part of God’s kingdom Way…

Today we honour and celebrate founders of this particular congregation who have had the courage and the wisdom and the vision to create this church community and this house of worship and work where we meet. There are people here who have been builders, teachers, leaders, supporters, inspirers, hopers, dreamers, givers, prayers, workers. These founders whom we honour today are foundational to the work that we are able to do in this day. It has been their vision, their faith, and their faithfulness their service, their generosity, their courage, their tenacity, their love, their hope that has made this a community of God’s way in this place. We honour them. We thank them. We tell them what a difference they have made in so many lives…lives here, but also lives that are spread out all over the globe. The Spirit of the Jesus Way is surely alive in them. We are grateful for the Faithful Who have answered the call to serve and to give foundations to this community of faith.

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