Order, Words, & Voices 01.22.23

Radical Words

Order

Pre Worship Music

Opening Songs: Lynn/Christian

Be Thou My Vision

O Master Let Me Walk With Thee

Call to Worship Response & Lord’s Prayer Linda

Reading Matthew 5:1-20 Musgroves-online

Songs   Lynn/Christian

Give Me Jesus

Message Radical Words Rick

Music Lynn/Christian

We Are

Community/Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

Music (slides)

Be Thou my Vision O Lord of my heart

Naught be all else to me save that Thou art

Thou my best thought by day or by night

Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light

Verse 2

Be Thou my Wisdom and Thou my true Word

I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord

Thou my great Father I Thy true son

Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Verse 3

High King of heaven my victory won

May I reach heaven’s joys bright heaven’s Sun

Heart of my own heart whatever befall

Still be my Vision O Ruler of all

O Master let me walk with Thee

In lowly paths of service free

Tell me Thy secret

Help me bear the strain of toil

The fret of care

Help me the slow of heart to move

By some clear winning word of love

Teach me the wayward feet to stay

And guide them in the homeward way

In hope that sends a shining ray

Far down the future’s broad’ning way

In peace that only Thou canst give

With Thee O Master let me live

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer (Slides)

Leader: The generations from Abraham to David was fourteen; David to Babylonia was fourteen; deportation to Jesus was fourteen.

Response: God said to Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Leader: The angel told Joseph that his fiance would birth a son who would save the people from their sins.

Response: He will be called Immanuel, God with us

Leader: The child was born in the city of David, Angels proclaimed news of great joy to shepherds, and Magi came from faraway lands

Response: Nations will come to your light, kings to your brightness

Leader: The paranoid King, scared of the rumors about the birth of the Messiah ordered the massacre in Bethlehem

Response: Joseph, Mary, and Jesus became refugees in Egypt

Leader: Jesus walked through the baptismal waters and into the wilderness for a time of testing

Response: Jesus fasted and prayed

Leader: Jesus called his disciples and gathered those living on the margins and in the shadows

Response: Jesus spoke radical words

Leader: Jesus led them to a new perspective on life, a new understanding of worth, and a new hope in God

Response: Jesus shows us love

(Join me in voicing the words of the prayer of Jesus.)

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.

And, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (No Slides)

Jesus saw the crowds and, along with his disciples, went up on the mountain; and sat down.  Jesus began to teach them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice, be glad, for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people.” 

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, they put it on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

“I did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Until all of the law is accomplished, until heaven and earth pass away, the Law remains!  For I say to you that unless your righteousness far surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:1-20

Music (Slides)

In the morning when I rise

In the morning when I rise

In the morning when I rise

Give me Jesus

Chorus

Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus

You can have all this world

Just give me Jesus

Verse 2

When I am alone

When I am alone

Oh when I am alone

Give me Jesus

Interlude

Jesus give me Jesus

Verse 3

When I come to die

When I come to die

Oh when I come to die

Give me Jesus

Message – Matthew 5:1-20 Radical Words

In 1957, evangelist Billy Graham did something radical. Graham’s audience was historically predominately white and his message was probably subconsciously aimed at them. But, one evening in 1957, at a Madison Square Garden crusade, Graham invited a 28 year old black baptist pastor to stand at the podium in front of over 18,000 people to pray. That young pastor, Martin Luther King, knowing the makeup of the crowd, surely considered his words carefully. 

“God, in these days of emotional tension—when the problems of the world are gigantic in extent and chaotic in detail— give us penetrating vision, broad understanding, power of endurance, and abiding faith, and save us from the paralysis of crippling fear. And, O God, we ask Thee to help us to work with renewed vigor for a warless world and for a brotherhood that transcends race or color. Amen.”

King had just recently come into the spotlight as one of the leaders of the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott, this was the same year federal troops protected nine black students as they enrolled in a Central High School in Little Rock against hostile protestors. This was the year President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 making it a federal offense to prevent anyone from voting. It was a time when  hateful white resentment to civil rights successes  was an increasingly a visible reality. This was true of many of those in Graham’s audience. Even though Graham did little else to advance racial equality, on this night in 1957, Graham’s actions were radical. Especially in the midst of this crowd as King courageously spoke words calling for “a brotherhood that transcends race or color.”  

King’s words were radical, Graham’s welcoming a black man to pray was radical, God’s call to this white Jesus believing audience to see the world differently than how their politicians and religious leaders instructed them to see was radical. King’s words were calling the Jesus believers in the building to a social, economic, religious, and political revolution.

Five years later, King would be executed for his prayers, his actions, and even his very presence. Less than three years before Jesus was executed, in his first public engagement, he too used radical words. Words calling for the faithful to allow their perspectives to be turned upside down.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the merciful. Blessed are the pure in heart. Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”

In his first public words, Jesus took the unholy and undesirable characteristics of the marginalized peoples in his audience and revealed the holiness of their traits.  

Blessed – the greek word is makarios, meaning happy, arrived, successful. An emotional state of happiness regardless of the circumstances.

Theologian Haroldo Camacho describes the context of this word, “Up to this moment, Makarios was a word reserved for the elite, and then only the crème de la crème. Makarios was used to describe those who had everything money could buy, and then some.The classical Greeks described makarios as the status of the gods, the powerful and wealthy. In the Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament), Makarios was used to describe human righteousness. The opposite of makarios was not unhappiness – instead it was a state of being actively cursed by God. This was the understanding of makarios among these listeners of Jesus. The masses, the multitudes, where poverty, sickness, and hunger reigned were considered to be living under the curse of God. Makarios was not a suitable adjective to describe a beggar, the sick, and especially those on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum. Makarios was out of reach for this group of people, until that day when Jesus spoke. God’s incarnate makarios, Jesus, was already surrounding himself with the accursed, the non-makarios. Then, Jesus does the unthinkable – He passes through this crowd, healing, touching the untouchables, embracing the rejected. He brings life to the terminally ill, sight to the blind, hearing and speech to those who could not hear or talk, and soundness of mind to the mentally ill, and as he passes through this crowd, he makes an astounding pronouncement- He declares them all blessed, makarios!”

Reverend David Garland interprets ‘Makarious’ to mean, ‘Congratulations’. As in ‘you have arrived, congratulations!’ Imagine being a part of this outcast crowd and hear this word repurposed to apply to them. The hungry, the thirsty, the pure, the peacemakers, the persecuted, the insulted, and the slandered were being congratulated rather than being insulted. For the first time those on the margins were seen and heard.

Jesus was not saying to them BE hungry, or BE thirsty, or BE pure in heart, or BE peacemakers, or BE persecuted, or BE insulted, or BE slandered – no, he was saying this is what the inhabitants look and live like who reside in God’s Kingdom. This is what a valuable life looks like from the perspective of God’s Kingdom. This perspective is going to redefine you IF you follow me.’

It is as if Jesus has written a paper about his life detailing the stories, teachings, sacrifices, love, confrontations, relationships, and every aspect of his life. A paper that will end with the fulfillment of his purpose as Mary and the others arrive at the empty grave and then hear Jesus’ final words before the accession. However, in this paper, Jesus does not wait until the end to explain his impact on the life of his followers, instead he explains it at the beginning. Here he is speaking to those considering a life of listening, learning, and following Jesus, and at this beginning he says ‘if you follow me, if you let my words and life infiltrate your minds and hearts, these words of markarious will eventually describe how you will think, this will be your perspective of the world. No longer will you be manipulated by politicians, no longer will you be controlled by religious leaders, no longer will you allow other voices to shape or deceive your mind and heart. This perspective will be your source of understanding, thinking, and responding – this will be your only filter as you seek truth. This will be how you will love God and love others, how you love all people.’

Interestingly, this type of truth is often recognized by the nonreligious world long before religious institutions and individuals. The business school at Columbia University, along with many other top tier business universities, has begun to grapple with the reality of ‘criticism that businesses are too predatory, exploitative and monopolistic, and that business education has to change.’ 

Columbia’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, said, “The forces at work in the world are necessarily causing a rethinking of the foundations of our economic system. Climate change, issues of social injustice and what globalization means for societies — all of these are raising profound questions about the nature of what the future can be.” 

Questioning the perspective that the art of business is just making a select group of the extraordinarily wealthy – they have come to the conclusion that the framework for business needs to include concerns about needy communities and all of our hurting world, not just seeking profits and financial gains. To facilitate this rethinking of business education, Columbia has actually built their latest building to emphasize and advance the school’s integration of social concerns. They are beginning to realize that wealth and power is not humanity’s primary objective, that the rich and powerful are not the only ones deserving of Makarious. 

(NY Times, Jan. 5, 2023)

Basically,  they are accidentally taking a second look at Jesus’ words realizing these words are not a naive idealistic nirvana that is out of touch with reality, instead these words describe how the world must begin to operate and think. 

As Jesus lists the ‘blesseds’ he accompanies each with a gift or result. The poor and the persecuted will recognize and receive the kingdom of heaven. Those who mourn will be comforted. The gentle will inherit the earth, the hungry and thirsty will be satisfied, the merciful will receive mercy, the pure will see God, the peacemakers will be called sons of God.

This is not a ‘DO This’ message, it is a ‘This is what is to Come’ message. It is a message saying, ‘This is what you are going to learn and see, this is going to be your perspective, this is going to be your existence, IF you genuinely follow me’.

Gerald Liu wonderfully wraps up Jesus’ message, “Jesus trusts his followers to play a part in manifesting the makarios of God in service to others, especially when our reality seems nowhere near the salvation message that the Messiah brings. As peculiar as the promises of happiness seem in the Beatitudes, they seem to rest in part upon the ability of the genuine followers of Jesus to attend to the wounds of the world with the saltiness of God, to illuminate a way forward in impossible circumstances with divine light, and to do those things as if it’s JUST US BEING WHO WE ARE. Like it’s second nature. The Beatitudes persist while naming the mysteriousness of what they guarantee, which is too wonderful for us to know with any precise understanding.” 

(Gerald C. Liu,  Professor, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N.J.)

The law was given to teach the Israelites how to love God and love others so that the world could, and can, see God.  Jesus, in his inaugural address, is starting with a new perspective on how the believer is to see the world. In this brief introduction to himself, Jesus is moving us from what they should Do as told in the Law, to what they should BE as they will see in Jesus, as Jesus himself fulfills the Law. This nature of the word Makarios and this understanding of God’s Kingdom, cannot help but turn our perspective upside down. Jesus is calling us to BE the Kingdom of God.

Think of all this could mean if we were to accept this pursuit. The commitment and work of education for all children would become holy work, advocating for food, water, and shelter for all human beings would become a holy priority, protecting the vulnerable would become a holy endeavor, providing health and mental care for all would become a holy pursuit, encouraging the prisoner would be a holy habit, caring for the marginalized and abused would become a holy calling, caring for God’s creation would become a holy obligation, knowing God intimately would become a holy life. Plus, the works of finance, engineering, faith, maintenance, and all other works, even politics, would become a life sustaining holy work.

Holy because it is how Jesus taught us to live through his words and life. Holy because it takes place only when our perception has become the perception of Jesus. Holy because we will be living the holy life that Jesus revealed to us through his life. Holy because it is the intentional outflow of following Jesus.

It all begins with removing the obstacles, boundaries, and limits allowing Jesus full influence and the Spirit full reach into every shadow and corner of our life.

“Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the uneven ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together” 

(Isaiah 40:3-5)

Let us pray.

Music

Ev’ry secret ev’ry shame

Ev’ry fear ev’ry pain

Live inside the dark

But that’s not who we are

We are children of the day

Pre-Chorus

So wake up sleeper lift your head

We were meant for more than this

Fight the shadows conquer death

Make the most of the time we have left

Chorus

We are the light of the world

We are the city on a hill

We are the light of the world

And we gotta we gotta we gotta

Let the light shine

(REPEAT)

Interlude

Let the light shine

Let the light shine ooh

Verse 2

We are called to spread the news

To tell the world the simple truth

Jesus came to save there’s freedom in His name

So let His love break through

Bridge

We are the light we are the light we are the light

So let your light shine brighter

We are the light we are the light we are the light

Jesus You are the light You are the light

You are the light

We will lift You high and shine shine shine

Ending

Let the light shine let the light shine

Let the light shine let the light shine

Community

  • Next Sunday, Guest Speaker, Jason Coker, Together for Hope
  • Wednesdays Noon Bible Study, February 22-April 5, Lenten Season

Benediction (Blank Slide)

May we go with Jesus’ radical words ‘Happy are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are gentle, those who hunger and thirst, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who have been persecuted. May we go, with the challenge to be salt and light, to be a light shining before others and in so doing, may we see with God’s eyes and glorify God.

Closing PeaceLeader: May the Peace of the Lord go with you.  Response: And also with you.

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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