The first few chapters of the book of Matthew are action packed. Beginning with lineage (genealogy), then moving to the heart-racing action narrative of the circumstances of the Messiah’s extraordinary and divine conception and birth, we then meet adult Jesus. It is here that from an open heaven (Mt 3:16) we read of the manifest Trinity and hear the words of the Father place an exclamation point on all the prophetic fulfilment we’ve already read of thus far: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”.
After a chapter of testing and the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry on earth, we reach chapter five, where we are suddenly and gloriously invited to take a seat with those on the mountainside, to sit under open skies as we hear the words of the Teacher of all teachers – the Lord Jesus Christ – teaching us about the radical nature and culture of the Kingdom He has come to establish through this most beloved and treasured Sermon on the Mount.
It is under these same skies that we live, receive Jesus’ teaching and His here-and-soon-coming Kingdom today. It is also under these same skies that we are called to be a Kingdom people as we grapple with the harsh and at times cruel realities of a fallen world and a fallen humanity that are our shared experience. Jesus Himself addresses this at the end of this same chapter – “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”, He says in Matthew 5:45, right after He has urged: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven”.
These same skies that were formed by the Lord’s utterance (Genesis 1:8) became the canvas for the Lord’s promises to the earth and every living creature in Noah’s day (Genesis 9:12-17), and His promises to the Church through Abram (Abraham) (Genesis 15:5).
These same skies that declare God’s glory day after day and night after night, proclaiming the workds of His hands (Psalm 19:1-4) are the same ones under which Christ Jesus was born, lived, obeyed, suffered, was crucified and rose again.
These same skies the disciples saw the Lord ascend into in Acts 1 (Acts 1:9-11) are the same ones that angels (Acts 1:11) and Jesus Himself said He will return on (Matthew 24:30, Matthew 26:64, Mark 13:26, Mark 14:62).
It is under these same skies that Christ’s church – His body on earth – exists today. And – though separated by oceans and closed borders – the mandate of Hillsong Worship continues under these same skies. One in heart and spirit, unified in mission and cause – to glorify the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to build His Church, and to serve His Church with the new song.