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Week of: February 16, 2020
Scripture: Matthew 5:21-37
... if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your brother or sister and then come back and offer your gift.
(Matthew 5:23-24, CEB)
This passage from the Gospel of Matthew has as its context Jesus' mountain-top sermon – offering a teaching message in which Jesus provides examples of "right-living" which extend well beyond the law and the prophets.
Jesus' mantra throughout these passages (Matthew 5, 6, & 7) is: "you have heard it said ... but I say to you …"
Jesus desires that those who follow him know the essence of the law, but are also equipped and prepared to go beyond "keeping" the Law in word only.
Jesus' followers are those who have absorbed the knowledge of what is "required" and then put that understanding into practice by mending relationships, extending mercy, and nurturing right relationships based on respect and forgiveness, fidelity and agape love. Worship is the place our faith communities begin this practice — may we listen for what Jesus is saying to us as we lead our worship arts teams.
Christ Jesus, move us through your guiding Spirit into deeper living, deeper caring, more genuine service, and richer relationships so that God's Kin-dom can emerge on this earth in vital and dynamic ways. Amen.
Deacon, The United Methodist Church
Photo: Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III, senior pastor of St. James UMC in Kansas City, preaches during opening worship at "A Place at the Table," The Fellowship's 2019 Convocation. (Fellowship photo by Daniel Craig.)