“This sums it up!”

Matthew 6:5-7:29.  Today our reading is the second half of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ state of the Union address.  Jesus continues giving a basic summary of his beliefs, the foundation of the kingdom of heaven.  As Jesus finishes, I can hear Forest Gump say, “And that’s all I have to say about that!”

         In these verses Jesus shares, “This, then, is how you should pray….” We receive the Lord’s prayer that is one of the first prayers many children learn and which is said in most churches.  Like the Ten Commandments, the first petitions of the prayer are for God to be honored and the last ones deal with our daily way of living in society. Help us be forgiving, looking only for daily bread, and safe from evil. The challenge is to stay balanced in these areas and to keep our focus on God and not on self.

         I love the way Jesus points us to nature and. beauty and the care God gives his valued creation and does not point us to the conflicts of politics or human relations.  He encourages dependence on God.  Possibly the best summary comes right at the end, “So in everything do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  We call it the Golden Rule.

         Jesus encourages us to “ask,” “seek,” and “knock” on closed doors.  It is good to take a moment and reflect on what I am asking for today, what am I looking for, and what doors that I perceive are closed would I like to see open.  As I watch the news about Afghanistan, hear the reports on the affects of the virus and the arguments that is spawning, not to mention the environmental challenges, I’ll admit I find myself praying, “Lord, have mercy!”  Our poor world does not look like the kingdom he is talking about but the sunrise today will remind me that this epic story is not finished yet!  And if it rains, I might glimpse a rainbow!  Blessings as you pray, ask, seek, and knock.  He is listening and will act.

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