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Jesus' Transforming Beautitudes: Selected Sermons from Year A (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 1 may 2015


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Tapa blanda, 1 may 2015
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This is the first of a trilogy of books on the Common Lectionary, a three year cycle of readings planned to guide the church through the reading of the Bible with a focus on the main seasons, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week/Passion of Jesus, Easter, and Pentecost. The three year cycle is simply called, Cycles A, B, and C. Most Christian churches follow these readings in the Common Lectionary. The overarching thesis of all three of my books is that the gentle teachings of Jesus slowly but surely transform our lives, our churches, and our world. Building on this theme, Cycle A, focusing on the Gospel of Matthew, is “Jesus’ Transforming Beatitudes.” Cycle B, focusing on the Gospel of Mark and the Great Commandment, is “Jesus’ Transforming Love.” Cycle C, focusing on the Gospel of Luke, the more gentle of the Gospels, is “Jesus’ Transforming Gentle Teachings.” While the focus of the trilogy is on the gentle teachings of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the Gospel of John is interspersed in all three cycles as are the readings from the Old Testament and the Epistles of the New Testament. Unless otherwise cited, all scriptural quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (hereafter cited as NRSV). Why have I chosen to focus on the term, transformation? Transformation is a good word for describing Christian healing and growth in grace. Our society is in need of constant transformation---from poverty to resources to live a full and meaningful life, from hatred to love, from war to peace, from despair to hope. The crucial question is “How does transformation occur? Surely it is not an instantaneous onetime confession of faith. Christian nurture resulting in transformation throughout life is a better image. Thus Christian nurture supports the thesis of these sermons in the entire trilogy--- that the gentle teachings of Jesus based on God’s creative responsive love are life transforming. The Gospel of Matthew is known for the Sermon on the Mount and the beatitudes that introduce the teachings of Jesus with the crowd. However, the beatitudes are not just an introduction to the sermon they are a vital part of that teaching. There are a few beatitudes scattered throughout the Gospel of Matthew and not found in the collection in Matthew 5:1-11. These beatitudes will be found in some of the sermons and help support the title of this first volume in the trilogy: Jesus’ Transforming Beatitudes. The reversal of the expected outcome in the beatitudes, like “blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth,” fits the same reversal of the expected found in the parables of Jesus. The idea of the reversal of the expected is carried by two verbs in the beatitudes. The present tense verb, are, locates the action in the present gentle ministry of Jesus. The future tense verb, will, affirms God’s creation of newness. For the beatitude to be fulfilled in newness, transformation must occur. Hopefully, the reader will find that Jesus’ gentle parables support the themes of the beatitudes and flesh out their theology.

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