First Thoughts From The Rev. Canon David Smith: 

Most weeks Fr. David sends out an e-mail with his first thoughts on the upcoming Sunday readings. These reflections are designed to encourage people to consider the readings before they come to worship which we hope will enrich Sunday worship. People are invited to respond to David with their own thoughts and sometimes interesting ideas and conversations occur that end up in the sermon. If you would like to receive these weekly e-mails e-mail David at dsmith@ontario.anglican.ca  . 

Readings: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9- 18, Psalm 119:33- 40, 1 Corinthians 3: 10-11, 16-23, Matthew 5: 38-48

Posted by Emily Sanderson on Saturday, February 22, 2014

 

Readings: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9- 18, Psalm 119:33- 40, 1 Corinthians 3: 10-11, 16-23, Matthew 5: 38-48

 

Thanks to Feasting On The Word  Year A Volume 1  pgs. 362-385

 

I am running out of time this week so I include my thoughts on the O.T. reading and give you a link I discovered that does what I attempt to do each week but I think does  a lot better job.  These reflections will get us thinking about the readings       http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/stw/2014/02/03/bible-study-7-epiphany-a/

 

It seems to me that a theme that runs through all of our readings for this week is the call to holiness. God through Moses tells the people that they are to be holy for God is holy. The Psalm does not use the word holy but certainly the prayer of the Psalm is to be as pure as possible, “turn my heart to your decrees”. St. Paul tells us that we are God’s temple and that temple therefore is holy. Finally , Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount commands us to be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect.

 

In a nutshell holiness as far as our reading from Leviticus defines it , is to love ones neighbour as oneself. And although there are agricultural practices referenced that would seem a bit strange to us the basic commands are easily assimilated to our day and age and culture. For example it is always important not to revile the deaf or to put a stumbling block before the blind. There is a strong emphasis on what we as individuals should not do and should do but our individual actions will make a significant difference in the health of others and the society at large. An interesting example of this is that we are to confront our neighbours if they are doing something damaging to themselves or others. In other words we are to care about the situation others may be in and be helpful. Our holiness makes a difference. Holiness here is all about everyday living and basic practical loving actions that are a blessing to others. It is interesting that we are told not to steal right after we are told to not harvest everything so that people who are in need can harvest some for themselves. In other words the crops are not really yours anyway so to keep it all would be to steal.  We are told not to profane the name of God. We usually think of cursing here and of course using our Lord’s name this way does belittle his love for us. But I like to think of profaning God’s name more in terms of when we say and do things that do not honour God than we are profaning his name especially when we do these things in his name. I think a good sermon could flesh out just what it looks like when we keep even one of these commands. The other thing that is clear in this reading is that we can only be holy if we keep our eyes upon God. We see this in the way the text often declares after a command , I am the Lord your God or be holy because I am holy.


Tags: sermon on the mount  st paul  commandments  holiness