2017.02.09 16:21:14
February 12, 2017

The Best Excuse For Skipping Church

Order of Worship


Dear Friends,

As you have noticed, we are reading the Sermon on the Mount from the 5th chapter of Matthew during this green season of Epiphany. We are looking at it bit by bit, but I invite you to read the whole thing before Sunday so that you have the context in mind. In this gospel, Matthew indicates that large crowds are following Jesus and so, for logistical purposes, he climbs up a mountain in order to teach. Because of the location and the activity, this section that goes from 5:1-7:29 should more aptly be called the Instruction on the Mount.
The unnamed mountain that Jesus climbs is full of symbolism. As a mountain, it is a place of revelation, a deliberate allusion to Mt. Sinai where Moses received the holy law. Seated in the posture of a rabbi, Jesus teaches his disciples as they gather close to him with crowds of people flowing out across the fields behind them. Tom Long points out that this graduated arrangement of listeners symbolizes Jesus speaking through the disciples to the whole world, anticipating the end of the gospel where Jesus announces the mission of the church to be "to go and make disciples of all nations."
On Sunday, we are going to focus on the first of the six examples of "greater righteousness" that Jesus teaches. (Matthew 5:21-26) Collectively, these make up the core ethical teachings that challenge us to live beyond the letter of the law to embody God's law of love. The title of the sermon is "The Best Excuse for Skipping Church."
I hope you won't!




Rev. Martha Wingfield


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