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Pulpit Preparation

Preparing our hearts, minds, and souls to hear and reflect upon the Word of God.


Prayer of focus

Lord God, mercifully receive the prayers of your people. Help us to see and understand the things we ought to do, and give us grace and power to do them; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen



Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Matthew 5:21-37




The Sermon on the Mount continues this week with a series of issues addressed by Jesus. Issues that are covered in the covenant promises of God in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 20). Our reading begins with Jesus speaking about murder, and leads us in interpreting our behavior towards one another. He raises the act to intent for how we think about one another or speak to one another. In my reflection upon this section of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-26), I am reminded of the old childish idiom “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This rebuttal to teasing or other harsh speech brings me back to reflecting upon how I use language? It is a reminder to me how powerful language is in our lives and the reality at least for me, is that I normally physically heal from broken bones, however from someone’s harsh words those remain longer. They remain unhealed.


The second section continues to reflect our behavior as it relates to relationships. Here we hear of a more intimate relationship. Our marital relationships. In Matthew 5:27-30 we are reminded that our commitments are not only physical, but spiritual, emotional, and psychological. Relationships involve our entire being, not just parts. The sum of who we are as children of God located in the sum of our parts. This thought is continued in the third section on divorce. An interesting thought in Matthew 5:31-32.


Finally Jesus, in our gospel reading for Sunday, wraps everything up as you continue reading the Sermon on the Mount by reminding the hearers and readers of the text to whom do you belong. Jesus does this by addressing oaths. What does it mean to take an oath? When you take an oath what are you committing yourself to or to whom? One way to reflect upon oaths is to think about your baptism. To be baptized means you have been and are committed to … God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In your life as you live it in the world today, what does this mean to and for you?

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