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  • Writer's pictureJohn M

Weekly Liturgy : January 30-February 5

Matthew 5:13-20

Salt and Light

The Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus Mafa.  1973.
The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus Mafa. 1973.


Matthew 5:13-20

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

The Fulfillment of the Law

17-20 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.



When I read this text, I get frustrated with Jesus. I’ve got to be more righteous than the uber-religious just to experience Heaven? I don’t think I’m good enough to always be "salty.” And honestly, sometimes it’s really nice to put the bowl over myself and escape the pressure to be shiny.

But maybe the point Jesus is trying to make is different than I expect. If Heaven is the place of eternal love, eternal grace, eternal mercy, eternal forgiveness, eternal belonging, maybe being righteous is less about keeping rules and more about choosing to behave like we’re already there. The pharisees and scribes were really good about creating purity tests and excluding anyone who didn’t measure up. No wonder no one had a chance to get into heaven! I absolutely want to be better than this version of righteousness.

I suspect if we begin to drop our own purity tests and find ways of relating to others based on inclusion rather than exclusion, the Heaven we long for in the “next” life will start to appear in this one.

This Book Will Make You Kinder, Henry James Garrett
This Book Will Make You Kinder, Henry James Garrett


Outward Mindset Application

What difficult conversation have you been avoiding? Engage that conversation this week with an Outward mindset.

Pathways Toward Centeredness

Asceticism (loving the world through simplicity and solitude): This week, rest! Find a 6-hour chunk of time during one of your days to turn your phone off, avoid the TV, and take a break from stimulation. Walk, take a nap, read a book, or puzzle.

Questions for Relection

What is it like to be on the outside of a community, looking in? Can you think of anyone you may be inadvertently excluding in the same way? What is your favorite city you have ever visited?


You’re Invited!

One of our community practices is to gather every Sunday morning for prayer, friendship, and conversation about the week’s Scripture text. Doors open at 10:30am for coffee and donuts. Our circle begins at 11:00am. We’d love to see you there! The Open Table (@ The old DMV) 2640 N Portland Rd Salem, OR 97301


“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.

Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.


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