Sunday 5th February 2023
Psalm 112: 1-9; Isaiah 58 : 1–9a; 1 Corinthians 2: 1-12; Matthew 5 : 13-20
The reflection for this week is provided by Local Preacher, Naomi Sharp.
The message of Jesus is so clear when illustrations are used. We expect salt and light to do its job so when it fails to be fit for purpose, there is a major issue. Jesus chose these items as they involved senses which were important to the experience of many people. For the listeners to be able to visualise their role in these terms was a way of making the response to the gospel so integral to everyday life.
A while ago during a service I shared my thoughts on this reading and the emphasis was on the light being hidden. As many Young People were at the Service, the theme was simplified and I used a solar light as a visual aid. Without being in a prominent place, it wouldn’t charge or be able to be seen in the darkness. At the end of the service, a member of the congregation came to give additional information about the light saying there was a switch that was connected to a battery as back up, so it need never go out! Apart from feeling rather foolish at not realising this wonderful technology, I felt that I missed the essential message of God’s power within.
Jesus goes on to say that He has come to fulfill all that is the foundation of the Law of God. However, the Law is a tool of those who follow and one of the main tenets of Gods law is righteousness. If those who teach and represent the Law are not able to follow it properly then it is those people who must improve their understanding and delivery. The Scribes and Pharisees had set limitations on God’s law as they interpreted and taught. Jesus knows that understanding comes from those who listen and follow the teaching of God, through a direct connection.
In its deeper spiritual meaning, righteousness is the quality of being right in the eyes of God, including character (nature), conscience (attitude), conduct (action), and command (word). Righteousness is based upon God’s standard because He is the ultimate Lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22).
The Solar light illustration is helpful when we think about the power of God to fill us and empower us but there is also the uniqueness of God’s Spirit which has been given to each individual who commits themself to live according to God’s true Law. This is the switch that has been set within us to never fail when we need its power. God changes us to be and to do, so we can show the way, or flavour the experience of others with the Love of God. Who we are and what we do in the name of God is witness to the power of God at work within us. Amen.
Lord, our Saviour, help us to call on you in our darkest moments and feel that we are loved by you for who we are and seek to be.
Our actions should be driven by our love for you and our understanding of the freedom you give through the Law of God, so we ask for the confidence to allow the Spirit within us to shine through all we seek to do in your name. Amen