So tonight we once again talked about how we are putting the beatitudes into practice in our lives. Blessed are the poor in spirit, the mourners, those that hunger and thirst for justice, the pure in heart, the merciful, the peacemakers, those that are persecuted for justice sake. Each of us shared about how we tried to live one of these out over the week previous. But we also talked about the very next set of verses in Jesus sermon on the mount (matthew chapters 5-7 in the bible)
These next few verses may be familiar to you. You are the salt of the earth, and you are the light of the world. See, in Jesus the kingdom of God has come, has begun. His disciples are called to walk in this kingdom community, and the beatitudes begin to show how radically different this is to what they see in the world, and even what they expect from the Messiah. It is not the powerful that are blessed by God, but the meek. It is not the rich that are blessed by God, but the poor. It is not those that have all the justice they could desire but those that are actually suffering injustice and longing for it. Jesus turns the world upside down. And then explains how this will effect the world.
Contrary to many of our Christian domination ideas, Jesus says that we will be a flavor and preservative for the world. We will not force them to live right, but we will give them a taste of something different, and we will keep the world from getting spoiled, just by our being in it.
And again, we are not to hide away and practice our kingdom outside of the world, or more currently, to create our own "Christian" version of culture that we hide out in. But instead, we become a light in darkness. Matthew calls us to not try and influence from the top, but instead to influence from the margins. To be a light in darkness.
So as we walk out these radical new ways of being, we become that which give the world a taste of heaven, that preserves the world for heaven, and that shines a light, that calls people out of darkness. This is how the kingdom is meant to influence, from a position of love, and service, not from a position of power