Today over lunch, I read the first half of the Sermon on the Mount. I love the imagery and the poetry of this message of Jesus. His tone is so loving and edgy, and when I find that my faith feels complicated and boring, I usually retreat to these passages.

Today, I couldn’t help but think of the people who heard this sermon for the first time. How did they handle the news that they needed to give up their cloaks and slice off their hands? I read the sermon from this side of the cross; I know that Jesus really is Messiah, and he really does conquer death. I believe in him. What about these first listeners?

More than anything, the Sermon on the Mount strikes me as upside down living. Jesus basically takes every human instinct and desire and turns them upside down, redeems them.

Maybe that’s why these words speak to me the most when my own life is a little topsy turvy.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” — Matthew 6:34 from The Message