By Fiona Hammond
We don’t want to mess with the text, but a little contextualization can sometimes help to get our heads and hearts round the message of a Bible passage.
Try the MAS strategy (www.itcpublications.com.au) to get a little modern day perspective on a story.
MAS stands for Modify:Add:Size. It works like this – to get your head around the problem, in this case, understanding the impact of the Beatitudes, modify one aspect of the story, add something and adjust the size of one part of the original story. This may sound odd, but try it and see…it really does work to explore different aspects of a text.
Task: We understand that Jesus was probably itinerant, homeless. Imagine that Jesus spends time around your suburb, and that you are part of the crowd when he gives the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7)
Modify: Jesus preaches from the stage in a Shopping Centre
Add: a question and answer section led by your parish
Size: the audience is immediately worldwide, as everyone there records the event on their phone and shares via social media.
With this picture in your minds, read the passage and discuss
· Describe all the different reactions that the modern crowd gives to this timeless message.
· How many hits would the modern beatitudes get on social media?
· How comfortable would you feel being one of the people who gets to ask Jesus about his words? Talk us through your (imaginary) experience.
This is a great strategy to play with the text of a story and see the message/s from different angles, maybe even discerning new messages. Try it out!