Here are the lessons we just heard in church ... I'll post a link to Ed's GREAT sermon later. But for now ... read, mark, learn and inwardly digest these ancient calls to action from the spiritual ancestors who aligned their lives with God's love, justice and compassion. And let us not shrink from reclaiming the scriptural heritage that grounds us in the tradition we inherit as we grow into God's future. [PS -- The translation is "The Message" ... considered to be from the "evangelical" part of our tradition. Just an FYI.]
A Reading from Isaiah (58:7–12)
“What I am interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You will call out for help and I will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins. If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I will give you a full life in the emptiest of places — firm muscles, strong bones.
You will be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You will use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You will be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.”
A Reading from I Corinthians (2:7–9)
God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of God’s purposes. You do not find it lying around on the surface. It is not the latest message, but more like the oldest — what God determined as the way to bring out the best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene.
The experts of our day have not a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they would not have killed the Master of the God - designed life on a cross. That is why we have this Scripture text: No one has ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it — what has been arranged for those who love God. But you have seen and heard it because God by the Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.
The Gospel According to Matthew (5:13–16)
“Let me tell you why you are here. You are here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You have lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here is another way to put it: You are here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.
God is not a secret to be kept. We are going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, do you think I am going to hide you under a bucket? I am putting you on a light stand. Now that I have put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you will prompt people to open up with God, this generous Creator in heaven.”