12 February 2023
Bible readings for today
Liturgical Colour: GREEN
God of Israel old and new,
write in our hearts the lesson of your law;
prepare our minds to receive the gospel
made visible in your Son Jesus Christ our Saviour.
E te Atua o Īharaira o tūāwhakarere, onāianei, tūhia ki ō mātou ngākau ngā akoranga o āu ture; whakaritea ō mātou hinengaro kia whiwhi ai ki te rongopai i whakatinanatia ai i tāu Tama i a Īhu Karaiti tō mātou Kaiwhakaora. Āmine.
Family Matters (Matthew 5:21-37)
This tricky passage from Matthew can be a difficult one to preach on! With teaching on anger, adultery, divorce, and the vows we make. With sensitivity for those in your church or group, you may wish to summarise this passage to teaching about how God cares about our relationships, and how we treat our family.
In this passage in Matthew 5, Jesus talks about how it was important for people to examine their hearts before presenting a sacrifice at the altar. You can imagine how a sacrificial offering may become token, without any remorse or self-reflection, as God is given a sacrifice of duty.
While we may not have to offer the same sacrifice (anyone have any doves?), we can reflect on the things we do out of duty and obligation, without examining our motives or intentions.
An illustration from Rev. Sarah West from Visio Lectio, shared with permission.
Download w/ background
This is one of those very uncomfortable Gospel readings which leaves us all realising how far we fall short of Jesus' teaching, and how very much in need of grace we are. Gillian, John and Gary join Michael to together re-claim that grace, however much the challenge to us all remains.
You have heard it said...
In the Gospel Conversation above, Rev. Gillian picks up the line that Jesus says: "You have heard it was said..., but I I tell you that..." This is a real challenge for us to think about what we have heard the world saying, and what Jesus may speak into it.
E.g. You have heard it said that:
This could be a really good brainstorm for today's verses.
Confession + forgiveness
This could be a good opportunity to talk about the value of confession - both in our church services, and our personal prayer time. Pete Grieg defines confession as "We admit to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."
And confession goes hand in hand with forgiveness - verses 23 & 24 "“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, go and be reconciled to that person."
We are God's field (1 Corinthians 3:1-9)
"For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building."
Following leaders or God?
It can be easy to spend our lives following people, other leaders. Perhaps we get in spired by the stories of other Christians, or we follow a particular church speaker or preacher.
When Paul was talking to the people in todays passage, he reminds them that they don't need to pick sides and follow Apollos or Paul, but we are all co-workers in God's field.
Think of the biggest tree that you have seen
The Church of Scotland have some worship ideas and sermon notes for adults for this passage, about identity, status and knowledge.