Matthew 5:14-16, 43-45a (Common English Bible (CEB))
You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.
“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.
*What grabbed your attention in this reading?
*What questions did it bring up for you?
*How does the Scripture connect with your highs and lows of this week (what is God saying to you, in your daily life, through the Gospel)?
*Have you been trying out the fasting practice this week–abstaining from text messaging and video games? (or some other fasting practice?) How is it going? What is easy and hard about it? Has it helped you nurture your relationship with God or with others? How?
Imagine (or get out!) three candles in a row, all lit. Over one of them, place an upside-down flower pot that has a hole in the bottom (where water would drain). What happens to the light? Over the second candle, place an upside-down votive holder–clear, but with no holes in it. What happens to the light? Let the third shine just as it is. What happens to that light?
Which candle are you? How can you fill your lamp/candle so you can keep shining indefinitely? Are you covering your light so it can’t be seen, or so it goes out?
How might this be related to how we pray for our enemies?
Spend some time praying for your opponents/enemies…see what happens to your light.
In worship this morning John reminded us that we have entered the season of Lent, and told us there are family devotional booklets available for us to use each night to help us focus on seeking God this season. If you didn’t get a booklet, please let us know and we’ll get one to you!
Part of the booklet includes an optional Fasting practice (if you choose not to do it, there’s also a daily question we invite you to answer with your family).
Keep reading, because fasting is not necessarily what you think! We won’t be going days without food or giving up meat. We’ll fast from something different each week. Fasting is a practice that goes all the way back before Jesus—it was a practice that helped people draw closer to God in the Old Testament, Jesus fasted, and Jesus said things like “when you fast,” which suggest that he expected his followers to do it too. Fasting is the root of the common Lent practice of “giving something up”—but instead of simply giving up m-n-ms or “giving up” something we don’t do anyway (yes, we’ve done that!), we’ll be exploring the practice of fasting from a variety of things. Each Sunday in this booklet there’s a new thing that’s common in many of our lives. During the week from Monday-Sunday, we hope you’ll try, as a family, to fast from that thing. This is a way to re-orient ourselves, to remind ourselves that often we are so full there’s no room for God’s new thing, and to try a different way of living even if it’s just for a short period. There’s also a separate sheet about the practice of Fasting so you can learn more about it and how you might try it.
This week’s fasting practice is:
We are going to try giving up snacks—we’ll only eat at mealtimes, not in between. When you are hungry between meals, let that hunger be a reminder to look to God, who gives us the bread of life. Let that hunger be a reminder that your body does not control you—you can let your spirit take the lead instead. Let the hunger be a reminder that there are millions of people in the world who do not have enough to eat, and take that moment to pray for them.
Yes, we know that girl scout cookies just came in. They’ll still be there waiting for you on Sunday or Monday. 🙂