Today brought us to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and the Mount of Beatitudes. This place holds special meaning in the Christian tradition. Jesus sought disciples, prayed and taught here according to the Christian New Testament. Here is where we come to know the collection of sayings that are called the "Sermon on The Mount." This sermon offers us the heart of Christian theology.
Our group from Chicago Theological Seminary sat atop of the Mount of Beatitudes, read the sermon and reflected on the words in the context of our trip to Israel - Palestine. How can we be peacemakers, we asked?
Dr. Ken Stone, CTS's academic dean, noted the passage "Blessed are the meek" and suggested that part of what we should take away from this trip is a sense of humility. The situation in Israel - Palestine does not lend itself to easy answers. Those that claim to know "the truth" or "the way" forward may cause more trouble and difficulty. That doesn't mean we stop seeking peace. We just engage that process recognizing the complexities and that as Americans we have the potential to offer both hope and to contribute to the chaos.
5When Jesus* saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely* on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.