Sunday, February 05, 2017

Epiphany 5A

Matthew 5:13-20

13"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

So far in Matthew's gospel: genealogy – birth – magi – Egypt – baptism by cousin John the Baptist – wilderness desert solitude and temptations – calls four disciples – beatitudes, "blessed" Sermon on the Mount as the New Moses

This week continues Jesus' sermon, homily, talk, discourse that describes righteous attributes or characteristics of his disciples. These qualities are gifts of grace, yet having them makes demands for our response: what we do because of who we are — God's Work / Our Hands

Everyone knows today's gospel reading well! It's about our being salt of the earth and light of the world; this is what and how people in the kingdom of heaven, reign of God, lifestyle of God, culture of heaven are and how they live.
Kari Jobe, We Are

"Every secret, every shame
Every fear, every pain
Lives inside the dark
But that's not who we are
We are children of the day

So wake up sleeper
Lift your head
We were meant for more than this
Fight the shadows, conquer death
Make the most of time we've left.

We are the light of the world
We are the city on the hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta let the light shine.
Let the light shine
Let the light shine."

As Wendell Berry reminds us, "practice resurrection!"

Discussion about how a little salt goes a long way; how the flame of light from a small candle can fill a dark room. Mix it all up and add seasoning to life everywhere we go! The world needs us to help it be tasty and lit up!

Matthew 5:20 "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and pharisees..."

Typically we give Pharisees a bad rap as self-righteous, legalistic, sanctimonious hypocrites overly concerned with irrelevant details that mattered not. In this context consider the pharisees as good citizen leaders who strove for justice in the community, who kept the commandments to the letter, did everything possible to make the world around them a better place.

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