This week in our gospel reading we begin a four week journey through the Sermon on the Mount. This is Jesus’ first big block of teaching (there are five in Matthew – mirroring the 5 books of the “Law of Moses”.) You would expect him to begin telling his disciples a bit about who he is and what he is about. Instead he begins by describing who is blessed, honoured, the most important people they should aspire to. It is a pretty surprising list. It’s not the deeply religious, the rich or powerful, nor the ones building great monuments to themselves. Brian McLaren describes them as, “the poor and those in solidarity with them; those who mourn…; the nonviolent…; those who hunger and thirst for the common good and aren’t satisfied with the status quo; the merciful and compassionate;… those who work for reconciliation and peace…”
In this short little teaching Jesus turns the normal status ladder upside down. And he invites his disciples, you and me, sitting with him on that hill, to base our identities and our understanding of success on these things. We are to be among the non-conformists speaking from the edge.