Preview of Worship on Sunday, February 12Written by Kareem Murphy on Feb 09, 2017 in - No Comments
Living a Whole Life
Matthew 5:17, 21-30
When we talk about what it means to live a full, whole life, I suspect that eventually we will include material possessions and financial wellbeing in our description. Likewise, when we talk about what it means to live a faithful life, I suspect that we often envision someone who has mastered their spiritual disciplines. People who are regular and consistent prayers, tithers, worshippers, Bible study attendees, and social service volunteers are who come to mind when we think of the person living a whole Christian life. But what if we measured a whole life by a person’s regular and consistent display of love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation? It has been remarkable to see how well people of faith pray, worship, and expound on the sacred text, and yet, we are seeing fewer and fewer examples of the kind of grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation to counter the increasing divisiveness in our culture.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus invites his disciples to place their focus on right relationship rather than right worship. Specifically, Jesus calls their attention to the dissonant image of a people of faith showing up in worship to tend to their relationship with God while harboring hate for their neighbor. It is not good enough to refrain from doing physical harm to those with whom you are at odds. For those who seek to live a whole life in God, one must refrain from hating or even insulting their neighbor. Calling his disciples to a “greater righteousness,” Jesus exhorts them to be reconciled with their neighbors even before they go to God in prayer and worship. Jesus maintains that a whole life of faith is measured by the values that animate God’s relationship with us: love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
This Sunday, we continue our reading of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and meditate on how we can place our emphasis on right relationship with both God and our neighbor. We accept Jesus’ exhortation to a “greater righteousness,” not to indicate that we are superior disciples or holier than thou. Rather, we tend to our spiritual life by displaying love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We seek to rid ourselves of all words, thoughts, and deeds that separate us from God and neighbor.
Join us for uplifting music, dynamic praise, and powerful prayers. See you on Sunday.