One of our scriptures this past Sunday was the Beatitudes.
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, 2and He began to teach them, saying:
3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
At the heart of these words, which frame the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), is a reversal of the world’s values. To be a disciple of Jesus is not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12).
In the Beatitudes Jesus calls us to be peacemakers. Disciples of Jesus live with a heart of peace and insofar as it depends on us, we seek to live in peace with all people (Romans 12). There is a need for communities of disciples who live with a heart of peace that allows them to transcend political categories in loving their neighbors, in doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with God (Micah 6).
In the present moment, this may be what it actually means to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.