Happy Moltmann Monday, all. I’ve got a short few sentences from The Way of Jesus Christ today, and short is all you need. These sentences pack a punch:
Does the Sermon on the Mount count as valid? And is it something that has to be practiced? This is going to decide whether in Western societies Christianity turns into a civil religion which (as J.B. Metz puts it) no longer demands anything and no longer consoles anyone; or whether we arrive at a community of Christians which confesses Christ, follows him alone, and follows him entirely.
Well, sure, the Sermon on the Mount is valid, we say. Well, sure we should try to practice it, we say. But really? Do we? Go re-read it this morning and give yourself permission to be honest about that. We rationalize ourselves out of most of what Jesus calls us to do and be in the Sermon on the Mount. And what’s at stake is….well, everything. What’s at stake is whether Christianity means anything or not.
I know most of us have read far too many articles about why Christianity in America is dwindling, why the Church is shrinking, etc. I think the accusation that American Christianity no longer demands anything and no longer consoles anyone is a good place for us to start that discussion. (It beats starting with music style…)