Book One of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Les Miserables, is titled, “An Upright Man”, and it opens with a lengthy portrayal of Monsieur Myriel, the Bishop of Digne. Hugo presents a character who cares deeply for the people of his parish, often giving of himself and his own possessions in order to serve others. Although he was a leader of some prominence, “he behaved the same with the rich as with the poor”, and “he condemned nothing hastily or without taking account of circumstances”–characteristics displayed in his later interactions with the protagonist, Jean Valjean.
After more than a dozen pages describing Myriel’s character and actions, Hugo writes, “Clearly, he had his own strange way of judging things. I suspect he acquired it from the Gospels.”
His was a counterintuitive way of living in the world, a life that was different and distinct, a life that sought to live and love in ways that bore witness to Jesus Christ. It’s the kind of life that takes shape when we embrace and exhibit the things that Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount.
However, it is not our outward actions but the state of our heart that matters most. This is a point Jesus makes all throughout the Sermon on the Mount, and one on which he particularly focuses at the mid-point of his message. This Sunday, Greg Burdette–our Director of Grad Student and Young Adult Ministry–will be preaching on Matthew 6:1-8, 16-18.
This week, we’ll be back to having three options for worship (online, 11 am in the sanctuary, 5 pm in Fellowship Hall), and I invite you to join us as we continue to spend time with the words of our Savior and the “strange way of judging things” that we acquire from Sermon on the Mount.
I pray this finds you healthy and well.
Grace and peace,