February 9, 2014
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany (Ordinary Time)
Youth Ministries Day
Let Your Light Shine
Isaiah 58:1–12, Psalm 112, 1 Corinthians 2:1–16, Matthew 5:13–20/5:15–22 IV,
Incorporate the youth of your congregation in all elements of worship, from initial planning to participation. For additional ideas and worship service samples see www.CofChrist.org/worship.
“Lord, Help Me to Know Your Presence”—NS 31
“Shine, Jesus, Shine”—NS 45
I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God.
“Holy Presence, Holy Teacher”—CCS*
OR “Open My Eyes, O Lord”—HS 454
If possible ask an older youth to offer the focus moment. Have a few examples of light with you (for example, light a candle and turn on a flashlight).
Jesus talked about light in today's scripture lesson. He gave some good examples and made comparisons to help us understand. When we have a light with us we can see where we are going. He asked us to be light for others; to help them see where they are going and share ourselves—our talents and our knowledge about Jesus’ love—with others. Think about something you can share that might help another person. What might be a light for them?
Some answers like a smile, a musical gift, or a sweet memory of encouragement might help people think of “light” they could share.
If I know of something that would help another person and I don’t share it with them, it is like covering a light…or not turning the flashlight on for them when they are in the darkness. A light that is hidden is not very helpful. Jesus knew that each person is of great worth and has light to share. He wants us to help one another. So, let your light shine!
OR Use a scripture-based focus moment from the Disciple Formation Guide at www.CofChrist.org/dfg.
Hymn of Confession
“Gentle God, When We Are Driven”—CCS
This hymn could be sung by the congregation or read by a speech choir.
Ministry of Music
“We Have the Power to Share the Light”—R 17
This hymn could be sung by a youth choir, or the text read while the music is played on piano or guitar.
OR “Go Light Your World” (SATB choir or soloist) by Chris Rice, Daybreak Music, HL.8744072
OR “This Little Light of Mine” (children’s choir) Campfire Song
Based on Matthew 5:13–20
Purchase and show the “Let Your Light Shine Countdown” video from www.sermonspice.com/product/26547/let-your-light-shine-countdown.
This is a video of several Bible verses that refer to “light” offered with a musical rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.”
Disciples’ Generous Response
As part of the Disciples’ Generous Response, we ask you to integrate the message of “giving to your true capacity” and “sharing equally” to fund the World Church Mission Initiatives and your local and mission center ministries. Generosity templates are provided to keep the church in touch with how contributions to mission tithes are moving Christ’s mission forward. Please use the templates to build a dynamic Disciples’ Generous Response for your worship service. Visit www.CofChrist.org/generositystories to print a template, or contact your pastor, congregational financial officer, or worship coordinator for a template. You can also find additional material to assist with the congregation’s understanding of A Disciple’s Generous Response at www.CofChrist.org/generosity.
Blessing and Receiving of Mission Tithes
“Lord, Make Us Instruments” (sing while offering is received)—CCS
“Bring Forth the Kingdom”—CCS
OR “God, the Source of Light and Beauty”—CCS
Closing Prayer for Peace
*See the full list of CCS hymn titles and numbers at www.CofChrist.org/hymnal/hymn-list.asp
Today’s scripture is part of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount and immediately follows the eight Beatitudes. The first passage, verses 13–16, is a transitional passage that is best seen in light of the two verses preceding it, which dealt with the theme of persecution. (Blessed are those who are persecuted.) Through metaphors Jesus helps his disciples better understand who they are and how they are to continue to live in the world.
The first metaphor is salt. Salt had a variety of uses and meanings in the first century. Salt was used as a preservative, as a seasoning, in purification, and as a symbol of covenant or a binding relationship. The value of salt is apparent when it is used with other elements. To be “salt of the earth” means disciples as a community are to bring a distinctive flavor to enhance and enliven what would otherwise be bland and without taste. Being salt requires disciples to be engaged with people who are outside the community of God so God’s flavor can influence the world. Disciples are defined as being that salt. But when one is persecuted it may be hard to remain effective—and salt may lose its taste.
Another metaphor is light, which allows us to see things; it illuminates the darkness. Like light, the communities of disciples are shining throughout the world. They are like a light and reveal God’s grace and generosity so all people may know the peace of Christ. Even a small light can penetrate the darkness. But fear of persecution could easily lead one to want to hide one’s light and Jesus states that this is not what people should do. There is no hiding a city built on a hill. Everyone sees it.
The disciples were called to be authentic in living their lives. They weren’t disciples for just a few hours each week, it was and is a constant experience. The faithful community is to be a beacon of hope and a signal to the world of God’s kingdom.
The community of disciples was not to exist for itself. Instead, its value was in what happened when it focused attention outward, on the world. In using these metaphors Jesus says, “you are” to identify the community of disciples. He doesn’t tell them they need to become like salt, light, or a city—instead he identifies their life as a community of disciples who live out the principles of God’s kingdom on Earth.
The second part of our passage helps us transition to what will follow. It makes clear that living like this does not mean Jesus has come to abolish the law through his teachings. The teachings are to make the law more complete, to fulfill the law. Scribes were experts when it came to the sacred texts and the Pharisees used those sacred texts to address a world living in sin. Both were experts when it came to understanding the law. Jesus, however, called for a new way of living life, one in which the importance is not on observing the law, but on living the right kind of life. That is the good news of the kingdom of God that Jesus lived out among the people. Matthew’s Gospel shares a vivid image of God’s kingdom that both challenges and calls us to lives lived in mission, lives of higher righteousness.
- As followers and disciples, we are called into the world to bring flavor like salt, to shine where there is darkness, and to be signal communities that stand for a new way of living life.
- We are called individually and we are called together as a community to be engaged in Christ’s mission. The call is not optional; it is as essential to the gospel as salt or light is to our lives.
- The call to mission is not just for Sunday mornings. It is a tangible expression of living out God’s kingdom here and now, even under difficult circumstances.
Questions for the Speaker
- What does it mean to be a signal community, a light to the world? What distinguishes a community visible to the world from any other community?
- How does living as an authentic disciple challenge us individually? Why does it require us to work together?
- What are ways your congregation currently shares as “salt” and “light” in your community and in the world?
- As you consider what it means to be salt, light, or a city on a hill, how is your congregation being called into mission? Are there things that may keep us from living out our mission?