Chapter 27 "A New Identity"

Scripture:  Matthew 5: 1-16

Imagining the scene, McLaren invites the reader to realize just how revolutionary Jesus’ words would have sounded and felt as he declared not a new religious movement, but a whole new way to looking at others and a new identity.  In a few seconds, Jesus turned “our normal status ladders and social pyramids upside down” (128). It is an abruptly different way of seeing life and others.

McLaren says that Jesus intends for us to “stand apart from the status quo, stand up for what matters, and to stand out as part of the solution rather than part of the problem” (129).  

I think this is great language.  In a few sentences Jesus has painted a picture of who we will “become” as we follow Him.  It is the opposite of what the disciples may have been expecting for Jesus, rather than using this moment in the sun to declare who He was, he instead declared who THEY were to become with him; indeed, He declared who they WERE, right then.  It must have been staggering to them and impossible. It was something new and incredible. This is what we are invited into with Jesus.

As you re-read this passage today, ponder. Share a story about someone who has impressed you with being the kind of salt and light Jesus spoke of.  Or share, how you respond to the reversal of status ladders and social pyramids described by Jesus’ words?

When I think of light, and a person being the light of the world I think of Jeanne Cochrane, a woman who was a member at the Banks Community UMC.  She has always seemed the same age to me although I have known her for 25 years. She was dear, sweet and precious then and still is now. She was a Sunday School teacher there when we arrived and all the girls longed to be in her class.  No one was like Jeanne, and she loved Jesus immensely. She was and still is a person of such glorious light. She shines, and yet has always named me and my family the “Shining Shimers.”  That’s just the kind of person she is.