Date: February 9, 2020
Bible Text: Isaiah 58:1-10, Matthew 5:13-20 | Rev. David A. Douthett
In a time when people around him were likely feeling resentful and/or defeated by their socio-economic and political life, Jesus offers his disciples a model of how to live as God's children in the world. We continue reading the Sermon on the Mount and find his call for us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. How do we understand these metaphors in our own lives? Join us to find out. We also celebrate the sacrament of baptism today!
Notes From the Preacher
In the sermon, I referred to this article, "Salt Makes Everything Taste Better" by Kimberly Y. Masibay. She discusses a little of the food and body science behind salt's unique place in our diet.
Presbyterians celebrate two sacraments. These are actions that Christ commended to us that reveal the saving grace of God, which is sealed in us by the Holy Spirit. The two sacraments are the Lord's Supper and baptism. Some traditions think that something happens to the sacramental elements of bread, wine, or water to change them from what they are into something else. While some Presbyterians believe that, too, that isn't our party line. According to John Calvin, the theological father of our tradition, the elements serve as symbols of God's saving actions. As symbols, they are connected in the spiritual realm to the real things they point to. So the communion bread is connected to Christ's body on the cross, the communion wine is connected to Christ's blood shed on the cross, and the water of baptism is connected to Christ's death and resurrection (among other things). By the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit, when we partake of the sacrament, we also are connected to that reality in the spiritual realm. By the Spirit's power, then, we are united with Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection, receiving the benefits of being purged of our sin, dying to the power of sin, and being raised to new life with Christ! That sounds like a lot to ask of a bite of bread, a sip of grape juice, or a sprinkle of water, but when God gets hold of ordinary things, they can become extraordinary!
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