From the past four months of studying and reading through the Sermon on the Mount, I have come to two conclusions. The first being that we must reclaim Christianity for the name of Christ, because we, as the American Church, don’t teach half of what Jesus said in those sacred three chapters. We have to change for it is absolutely imperative for us to reach the Nations. We must love our enemies and pray for them, we must turn the other cheek, and we must not only see what the narrow road is, but we also must take it. The second thing I have learned is that we are to live astonished lives. Not astonishing lives, but astonished lives. This is important and interesting because for some reason Matthew chooses to end the greatest sermon ever taught by making a remark about the crowds. He says, “When Jesus had finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished. For He taught as one with authority and not like their scribes.” It’s intriguing because it’s as if Matthew wrote the sermon and said, “so, what are you going to do with this?” I am to not only take what Jesus said and live it, but I am also to be astonished by it. I understand that it was easy for the crowds in Jerusalem to be astonished then because much of what Jesus had said was “foreign and new” to them but I believe that it’s safe to say that much of what Jesus said standing on that mountain is just as foreign to us now as it was to the Jews of that day.
But what would it look like to live an astonished life? That is an odd thing to say because when I initially hear that I imagine a five-year-old kid walking into elementary school for the first day of Kindergarten. I can this kid’s mouth dropping open as he sees the older students walking down the hall and his eyes widening when he looks at the gigantic playground behind the school. Am I supposed to walk around all of the time with my mouth gaping open and my eyes wide? That’s unrealistic. Or is it? What does it mean for me, a spoiled American white college student, to live astonished? The more I think about it and the more that the idea twirls about in my mind, the more I see that living astonished would mean for me to, figuratively, return back to my first day of Kindergarten. Just because I’ve seen the sunset hundreds of times, doesn’t mean that I should not be awed at every time I see the sky explode with the strokes of God’s fingers. Every sunset I see, I need to treat it like it’s the first and last that I will ever see. To live astonished is to be moved at the smallest beauty, to accept the smallest compliment, and to love until we’re empty. What if I let the world be new each day, instead of taking everything for granted? What if I woke each day knowing that this world is full of questions waiting to be answered instead of answers waiting to be repeated? I don’t know yet, but I know that there are people who live each day astonished and they have purpose and I think it would be world shattering if the Church would live astonished as well. But I am not so naïve to expect the Church to begin living astonished if I myself am not astonished at the very existence of breath.
I think another vital aspect of living astonished is losing yourself everyday into the rich and real pages and words of Salvation. Allowing yourself to fall back onto Majesty and to be embraced by the arms of Love. To jump and land in the sea of Grace.
What if we lived like today was the day that we will see Jesus face to face? What if we lived today by the words that Jesus said on the Mount? What if we lived astonished?
Only one way to find out.