Week 5: Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In groups of two or three, have participants respond to the question, “Who has been a mentor to you?” (“Who acted as light and salt for you?”)
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read Matthew 5:13-20.
- How is the church like salt? [An agent of flavoring and preservation.]
- How is the church a light to the world? [Shines on the path of life, reveals dangers, and so on.]
- How is the church being like a city on a hill an opportunity and a risk?
- What do you think it means that Jesus came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it? How does that influence how Christians read the Old Testament?
- If the common Jewish person of Jesus’ day would have thought that the Pharisees were the models of righteousness, what might have been the response of Jesus’ hearers that their righteousness exceeded that? [Probably, they felt overwhelmed. There were likely questioning how that would be possible.]
- Skim through the rest of the Sermon of the Mount (through chapter 7). How does verse 20 present a challenge that the rest of the sermon gives possible solutions to?
- What might this mean for your life as a disciple?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
God of glory, empower us to be salt and light to those we encounter. Stir up within us a desire for righteousness, holiness, and obedience to your instructions. Through your guidance and power, may we experience a foretaste of the kingdom of heaven. Amen.