The richness of the Sermon on the Mount has always captured my attention and curiosity over the years. I recall, while in training to earn my pastoral credentials and obtain my Local Pastor’s Licensing, I preached for several months on and off at St. George’s United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. It was a great experience for me. I told my teacher and spiritual mentor one day that I was planning on writing and preaching a sermon on The Beatitudes. He asked how many weeks I would be preaching on this. I told him, “Oh, just one.” He laughed and, from that conversation I learned that The Beatitudes and “The Sermon on the Mount” are so extensive and so rich that I could not possibly preach on this text in one sermon. I later discovered that he was right. However, I did, from that study and experience, finally find my centering text for my life and my work in ministry. It is found in Matthew 5:13-14 where Jesus preaches about being “salt and light in the world.” These Bible verses have shaped and changed my life. I learned that as a Christian, I could not simply blend in with everyone else. I started asking myself just how I would describe myself as a believer in Jesus Christ to the world. To the people around me. The folks I worked with, interacted with, did business with. How I came off as a father and a husband. I discovered that if I lost my zest for the Christian life, my saltiness, whatever testimony I had at the time would be worthless. I learned that I must keep my lamp on and my light bright before people so Christ can shine through me. This scripture revealed to me that my life must be a righteous life, where the light that The Lord provides for me is clearly seen by others. Then, God is clearly glorified. I learned that even the smallest light can dispel the greatest darkness. I have cleaved to these verses in Jesus Gospel ever since and have tried to live and share these truths with people I meet and serve now as your Pastor. If you and I live for Christ, and Christ alone, we will shine and illuminate like lights, showing others what Christ is like. Not going along with the crowd, ignoring the needs of others, or simply not sharing the game changing spiritual effects that Christ has had on our lives. This one, yet rich and extensive sermon Jesus preached, has changed my life. My prayer is that you will find that same power in the Word of God for yourselves. And, that it will change your life.
Thank you for all the support you have given me dear friends as your Pastor, as we walk through this life together trusting and serving a great and loving God. Jesus said ..”Therefore, now go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this; I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.