SERMON // ON THE EDGE
As a teen, Greg Moore began leading a triple life. As the son of a touring entertainment organist, he was exposed to popular and light classical music. During those years, he fell in love with J.S.Bach and took formal study in organ to a master's degree. A commitment to Christ brought him to a lifetime of service as a minister in music, teaching and writing music representing all of his various interests, especially in musical dramas on all sorts of subjects. He would describe his style as a merger of all these influences. Most of his life he’s worked with volunteer choirs and a few exceptional instrumentalists.
Greg lives with his wife of over 40 years in northwest Oregon on a leafy hillside threaded by an old logging road. The are co-workers in making and teaching music in the schools and their church across the river in Washington. Like him, it leads a double life, being both Methodist and Presbyterian, traditional and contemporary. At home, he’s heavily into reading, crosswords, humor, gardening, photography and philosophy.
Greg Moore, circa 1979
SERMON ON THE EDGE // PROLOGUE
During his 3 and a half years of ministry, Jesus healed many sick people, brought a few back from the dead, calmed a sea storm, multiplied a small basket of food to feed thousands, took an activist role in social reform, and in a single destructive miracle, killed an unfruitful fig tree! With all this activity though, everything he did had some sort of lesson attached to it. Jesus taught. Much of his teaching was through object lessons and stories. He was never without a parable. Sometimes 2 or 3 parables would be strung together to form a type of lesson on a major subject. But he also taught general principles, colorful illustrations to bring them home. This type of intense teaching is captured in a 15 minute sermon, or perhaps 15 minutes of a sermon delivered to a large crowd on a hillside. It has come to be called the Sermon on the Mount. It is found in chapters 5 6 and 7 of the book of Matthew in the Bible. It pounds apart one after another, our traditional thoughts about how to live a good life. It pulls us up from the normal world into a new realm, the Kingdom of heaven. It is not about how to get to heaven when we die, but how to be part of heaven, right here, right now. It points us toward direct opposites of what our culture expects us to do. It cares not a whit for our mechanical society, focused on good feeling but ordered by fear. Instead, Jesus promotes a good, worthwhile, genuine, purposeful life. This is not easy think from a genial guru. Jesus raises the bar higher than we had supposed, preparing us to vault the fence into God's country, yet happy to be just who we are. This sermon was not delivered to elite professors at some elite New England University, nor was it given to a crowd of angry radicals in Portland. Jesus spoke its words on a hillside to a crowd of whoever. Mostly ordinary people from all walks of life. Its ideas inhabit lots of modern thinking, yet it was delivered 2000 years ago. All in all, this sermon is the edgiest thing I can think of in all of my life's experiences. It never quits being edgy, never permits you to relax in comfortable thought for one minute. Yet it opens the door to a bright new world, right here in this temporary life on our spinning planet. I have prepared a musical painting, a picture of this revolutionary new life, with some fresh colors and current images. So here goes... The Sermon on the Edge!