Sunday, February 26, 2017

Basking in the Glory

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Matt. 17:1-9 NRSV)

Have you ever noticed the number of important things in the Bible that happen on a mountaintop?

We have examples in our readings today. In our first reading, we heard the story of Moses receiving the ten commandments from God. On the mountaintop. 

In the psalm--a psalm that celebrates the enthronement of a king, we heard where God crowns God’s king. On the mountaintop. 

Even, over the past few weeks, where we’ve heard Jesus lay out a vision of God’s kingdom and the place and role of disciples in that kingdom, where did it happen? Yes, on the mountaintop.

Over and over again throughout Scripture, we have stories of these important events that happen on mountaintops. And, do you notice that almost always, it is after these mountaintop experiences happen, that we see change. Whether it is a change in situation, a change in direction, a change in relationship--nearly always, it seems, there is change.

In the chapters leading up to our Gospel lesson today, Jesus has been preparing his disciples for the coming change. He’s instructed them and sent them out on a first time mission experience. He’s mourned the death of John the Baptist with them. He’s continued to heal and to proclaim the coming of God’s kingdom. He’s continued to teach the disciples and to more fully prepare them to go out into the world. And he’s been challenging the status quo, angering many of the Pharisees and Sadducees--Jewish leaders in the temple and synagogues. 

Then, comes Chapter 16--the chapter just before our text today. In verse 21 of this chapter, we read that “from that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things...and that he had to be killed and raised on the third day.” 

And Peter--you just can help but love Peter, can you? Because when Jesus tells them what is going to happen, Peter says “No way! No way will this happen to you, Jesus!”

Then, this mountaintop experience. This Transfiguration. This appearance by God who, once again as at Jesus’ baptism, says, “Yes, this is my Son. I love him. I am pleased by him. Listen to him!”

In this one declaration, God affirms to Peter, to the disciples, and to all of us that everything Jesus has predicted, that the path that Jesus is about to begin, this path that will take him down the mountaintop, onto the streets of Jerusalem, into the temple, and eventually back up onto a mountaintop, where he will be crucified on a cross--in this one declaration, God affirms that this is the path he has chosen for Jesus. For us.  And for all people.

And, as much as he wants to deny it, Peter knows that this mountaintop experience will lead to change that is so hard and so unimaginable, that he just wants to hold onto it for just a minute or two longer. To not let go of this experience. To simply bask in the glory of Jesus’ presence.

This Transfiguration experience is a threshold moment. It comes at that moment between what was and what is to come. It is a transition point to change. It demands a reorientation and it sometimes comes when we are not yet ready to move into that new place. Like Peter, we, too, want to hold onto what we know. What feels safe. 

I know something about this. For years, my pastor was after me to answer God’s call to go into ministry. At every opportunity, she would wonder with me about the possibility of becoming a full-time worker in the church. Year after year, she would ask. And each time, I resisted. I came up with every excuse. I needed to finish raising my son. I didn’t have the education. I couldn’t afford to leave my good-paying job. And on and on.

And then, a transfiguration moment for me. An unexpected lay-off. A moment between what was and what was to come.

Change is incredibly hard, isn’t it? It’s not that we don’t see it coming most times. It’s not that we don’t often recognize the need for it. It’s just that we wonder if we’re ready. If we can handle it. If we’re prepared for whatever that change may bring.

This Transfiguration story is a fitting story for us here at Grace and Glory as we begin to both transition into Lent and into another way of being God’s people in the world. Change is, by its very definition, the simultaneous holding onto what was and looking forward to what is to come. It’s the very definition of what is essential to our Christian faith--that we exist in a place we really don’t want to be.

That’s why it was so hard for Peter. That’s why it is so hard for us. And, yet, perhaps the best thing we can do is to simply be like the disciples on that mountaintop as they witnessed the deep love of a hidden God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.  To simply bask in the glory of this mountaintop moment, in the tension of this threshold moment, this moment between what was and what is to come.

To bask in the glory and, like the disciples, to simply be in awe of this transcendent God. A God who comes down to meet us. Who we learn of here in worship--through Word and Sacrament. A God who loves us deeply and who promises to be with us. Yesterday, today, and forever.

So, listen for this God. Look for God in your lives and in the world. Search for God, even at those times when God doesn’t seem present. Because it is often in moments like this, just as in our story today, that God breaks in and reveals himself. And leads us to change and a new way of being in the world. 


Preached on February 26, 2017, at Grace and Glory Lutheran Church, Goshen, KY.
Transfiguration Sunday.
Readings: Exodus 24:12-18, Psalm 2, 2 Peter 1:16-21, Matthew 17:1-9.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Persistance and Resistance

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Matt. 5:38-48 (NRSV)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today, this last Sunday after Epiphany before Transfiguration Sunday next week. This last green Sunday before Lent. Today is the last reading we have from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew until much later this year. 

Last Sunday, I laid out how we got to this point. How Jesus, after his baptism, began his ministry of healing throughout the Galilean countryside. How the crowd following him continued to grow. How Jesus moved to a higher place, where he began to teach. And to lay out the vision of God’s kingdom--as set forth in the words of the Beatitudes. A vision so different from the current culture. 

And then, from last week’s reading, the examples Jesus gave from the law and the prophets, examples that Jesus reinterpreted for his day.  These reinterpreted examples that give us a vision of what it looks like for us to work to carry out that kingdom and to live in relationship with one another. Whether that is one-on-one or more broadly within our community of faith. And we reflected upon how hard, sometimes, living in relationship can be and how important it is to God that we stick around, even in those times when we don’t want to.

Then, we come to our reading for today. Once again, Jesus gives us examples. More examples of ancient laws that he reapplies for his day. Laws that are not narrowed, but reinterpreted for a new time. And, even though reinterpreted, they are laws that have at their very core the same principles of love and reconciliation as those from ancient times.

Today’s examples, unlike last week’s, push us out into the world, beyond the bonds of our community, past the walls of our church. They teach us how to live and respond in the midst of an evil world. They teach us how to respond to our enemies.

Who are your enemies? 

Who are the people you hate or who persecute you so much that you call them “enemy?” Who are the people in our world who seem to personify evil?

Who are your enemies?

That’s a hard question, isn’t it? 

Last summer, I was teaching 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in Vacation Bible School. At my teaching station, we shared a snack together and, at the same time, wrote thoughts and ideas in our journals. Thoughts and ideas that came out of a discussion of the Bible lesson for each day and from questions that I asked them. 

On one particular day, our lesson centered around the verses in Mark 12--those verses that sum up the Ten Commandments--that we are to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and love our neighbor as ourself. To love our neighbor as ourself. It’s the same words that come from the last verse of our Leviticus reading today. 

The children and I had a long discussion about who our neighbor was and, as part of it, a broader question about whether our enemies were also our neighbors.

When I asked them the same question I just asked you--”Who are your enemies?”--there was a collective grown. “We’re not supposed to have enemies,” one of them said. “God wants us to love everyone,” said another.

I challenged them to be real. To be honest. To admit that, yes, they had enemies. That we all have enemies. Whether it’s the bully at school, or the bully at work. Whether it’s a terrorist group in the Middle East or a terrorist group here at home. We all have enemies--those people that seem to us to personify evil. 

Having enemies is the result of sin and a broken world. Whether it is across the world in another continent. Or right here at home in our backyard. We all have enemies.

So, who are your enemies? 

And, going a step further, how are we to respond to our enemies?

In each of the examples in today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us how to respond to our enemies. How to respond to and resist evil in a non-violent way. Whether it is to offer your other cheek to someone who “slaps you in the face,” someone who seeks to dishonor or humiliate you. Or whether it is the poor person who offers up his undergarments to the one who has already stripped away his outer garments--the creditor who has already taken away everything else. Or whether it is one who is powerless in our world, one who chooses to go one mile further than that already demanded by one with power, the one who sits on a higher rung of the societal ladder. Whatever the example, Jesus teaches us how to respond to our enemies and how to respond to the presence of evil in our world. And that is to resist it in a non-violent way.

In this month of February, as we, as a country traditionally lift up and honor the history and experiences of African-Americans, it is hard not to think of images from the Civil Rights movement. Those images that give us an example of resisting evil non-violently. Whether it is the image of resistance at a Woolworth’s counter, or that of being knocked over by force of water from firehoses in response to a peaceful, non-violent march across the Birmingham bridge, or even the image of the three African-American women at NASA, whose story is captured in the current movie, Hidden Figures--a story of their quiet resistance to evil carried out by a society that sought to keep them from fully using their mathematical genius simply because of the color of their skin. 

Whatever the image is, it is through non-violent resistance that evil is exposed. Evil is unmasked. Evil is named as evil. Resistance names what you see, exposes what might not want to be exposed, especially for the sake of someone who is vulnerable.

As we move further in Matthew this year, we will see how angry God gets with a world where people are routinely victimized or made to serve the ends of the more powerful. We will hear that God promises judgment to such a world. And, we will see, how important it is that we, as God’s people and messengers of the Good News, stand with those who are vulnerable and who are on the margins. To be salt and light for the world.

This is the message for us in the Sermon on the Mount. It is a hopeful vision of an amazing world in which there is wholeness and equality, peace and reconciliation.  It is a message of shalom. And it is a call for us--the church--to persist. To stick around. To be God’s messengers of this vision and to work with God in bringing this vision of hope to completion in our world. 

God, give us the courage and strength to carry out your vision. Amen.

Preached February 19, 2017, at Grace and Glory Lutheran Church, Goshen, KY.
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.
Readings: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; Psalm 119:33-40, 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38-48.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Stick It Out

“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.  -Matthew 5:21-37 (NRSV)

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Yesterday was a wonderful day, wasn’t it? Of course, I’m speaking for myself, but, at least for me, it was an amazing day!  I hope it was for you, too. It was the end of a very long journey for me that began in 2006 (and, really, much earlier than that). And, yet, the beginning of a new journey for me and for all of us here at Grace and Glory.

It was an amazing day!

And, then, today happens. And we are hit with a hard and difficult reading from Matthew as part of our regular lectionary. In a way, it feels like a very quick take down from yesterday’s high, doesn’t it? 

But, before we begin to dig into our Gospel lesson from today, let’s step back a bit, to get a broader view of the context in which Jesus is speaking these words that seem so hard and difficult.

In the preceding chapters of Matthew, Jesus, after being baptized by John, begins his ministry along the Galilean Sea, announcing the coming of God’s kingdom. As he has walked along this sea--a lake really--he has called his disciples, beginning with the fisherman brothers, Peter and Andrew. Along with these and 10 more newly-called disciples, Jesus has been traveling throughout the Galilean countryside, teaching in the Jewish synagogues--continuing to announce the coming of God’s kingdom in and through himself and, as we learn in Matthew 4, “healing every disease and sickness among the people.” He has healed people with all kinds of physical and mental maladies--those with diseases and in pain, those possessed with demons, those with epilepsy, and the paralyzed. Every person brought to Jesus with any physical or mental issue has been healed by him.

The result is that large crowds of people began to follow along with Jesus and his disciples. It is at this point then that Jesus begins to teach.  (Do you note how the healing comes first and then the teaching?)

So, Jesus goes up onto a higher place, sits down, surrounded by his disciples and the crowds nearby and begins to teach. It is these teachings that we call the Sermon on the Mount, beginning in Matthew, chapter 5, with the Beatitudes.

You know the words of the Beatitudes so well…”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek...those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...the merciful...and on and on. It is in these words of the Beatitudes that Jesus begins to lay out a vision of the kingdom of God, a kingdom so different from the empire in which the disciples are living--a kingdom that is the complete reversal of their experience under the Roman empire.

Then, as we heard last week in the texts on salt and light, Jesus begins to teach the gathered disciples (and the thousand or so followers just listening in) about what it means to be a disciple in this kingdom, training them and inviting them to voluntarily enter a very marginal life as a minority community and to read and understand Scripture (or the law and the prophets) with Jesus as the key to their interpretation.

Which brings us to our text today from Matthew 5. It is in the reading today where Jesus provides three examples for us--three places in which the Scripture that the disciples know and understand is reinterpreted through Jesus’ lens.

The first example involves anger.  Here, in this section beginning with verse 21, Jesus challenges us to understand that it is not only murder that brings judgment, but even anger with another. Whether it is anger expressed by insulting someone publicly, anger that is unresolved with another person, or anger that leads to murderous action, whether literally or metaphorically, none of this is behavior that is fit for God’s kingdom.  The alternative that is fit for God’s kingdom is reconciliation and peacemaking.

The second example involves the roles of men and women in social relationships, especially in a very patriarchal world. Here, Jesus challenges the destructive power of men over women as it relates to the issues of adultery and divorce. And his vision for God’s kingdom is a much more equal understanding of marriage and social relationship between women and men. 

The third and final example of Jesus’ reinterpretation relates to the integrity of word and action. On the wall in front of my desk here is a paper with the letters “DWYSYWD” on it. This is an abbreviation for the phrase, “Do what you said you would do.” This is the vision of God’s kingdom that Jesus has--where we walk the talk, where we do what we say we will do. It is this kind of straightforward, sincere, and trustworthy speech that builds honest and trusting relationships.

And that, ultimately, is what all three of these examples are about. They are about relationship. They are about living in relationship with one another. They are about the hard work of living together, whether one-on-one with each other or within the broader community of faith. Not only in Jesus’ time. But also right now. 

After yesterday’s excitement in particular, after the long wait you and I have had in reaching this point, we, here, at Grace and Glory are in a honeymoon period. You are excited to have me here. I am excited to be here. There is probably little that, for a while at least, can upset our relationship. We are getting along wonderfully well.

But it is inevitable that there will come a time when there will be something I say or do that will anger or frustrate you. Or something I say or do that challenges one of your beliefs, whether it’s a long held religious or political or cultural belief. Or even that you may do or say something to frustrate me. 

It is inevitable that there will come a time when the honeymoon period ends.

It is then that the real work of relationship will begin. The hard work of relationship. The work of finding reconciliation with each other when we’re angry, of apologizing for hard or insulting words, of engaging in more equal partnership as men and women, of doing what we say we will do. This is the hard work of relationship. It is the work that God’s kingdom requires. It is the work that God is calling us to do here at Grace and Glory. It is the work that God calls us to do out in the world. It is the work that brings wholeness and life.

So this is my closing challenge to you. Stick around. Even when you don’t want to, stick around. Even when you’re angry or frustrated, stick around. Even when someone hasn’t kept their word, stick around. 

This is what, as people of God, we are called to do. To stick around. We do it because God sticks around for us. Even in the midst of our human failings, God steps in and provides a way for us to reconcile and make peace with one another in the very same way that God stepped into a broken world and brought a Savior to reconcile each and every one of us with him. And continues to do so each and every minute of our day.

It is then, once we have stuck around, have struggled together, have reconciled and made peace with each other that, I believe, through God’s grace and mercy, we will truly begin to experience the fullness of God’s kingdom here at Grace and Glory.

May God so grant it. Amen.

Preached February 12, 2017, the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, at Grace and Glory Lutheran Church, Goshen, KY.
Readings: Deut. 30:15-20, Psalm 119:1-8, 1 Cor. 3:1-9, Matt. 5:21-37.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-20 (CEB). "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It's good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people's feet. 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.

"Don't even begin to think that I have come to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I haven't come to do away with them but to fulfill them. I say to you very seriously that as long as heaven and earth exist, neither the smallest letter nor even the smallest stroke of a pen will be erased from the Law until everything there becomes a reality. Therefore, whoever ignores one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called the lowest in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps these commands and teaches people to keep them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. I say to you that unless your righteousness is greater than the righteousness of the legal experts and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Grace and peace to you from our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Well, I'm here! I made it!

After these past few weeks driving a rental truck to collect my stuff in storage at various points that, it seems, were all over the upper Midwest, I made it! I'm here!

I got all moved in on Tuesday, thanks to an amazing crew from this congregation who unloaded the truck in record time. And, over the past few days, I've been trying to organize. To get boxes in the right rooms. To get unpacked while I, at the same time, began my ministry here at Grace and Glory. It's been a busy week!

And, since Tuesday, I've been searching for salt. You see, I'm an egg eater in the mornings. I like my eggs scrambled, cooked into a frittata, or just simply hard-boiled, which is the easiest and fastest method.

On Tuesday night, the first night in my new apartment, I went out and got some hard-boiled eggs. The next morning, when I went to eat a couple of them for breakfast, I realized I had no salt. Well, actually, that's not completely true. I had salt. I just couldn't remember which box it was in.

So, I made myself a list because, of course, there were a few other things I needed. And on Wednesday evening, once again, I found myself in the grocery store. And I got everything on my list. Except the salt, which I forgot.

Thursday evening, though, I found the box. What a difference in those eggs I ate on Friday morning! The salt completely changed the flavor.

In our Gospel lesson today, we are presented with two images. One of those is salt.

Salt is one of those ingredients that has multiple properties. We see it used all over the Hebrew scriptures--the Old Testament--in many ways. It's connected to sacrifice. It's used as a purifying agent. Sharing it also suggests loyalty.

So, in the first few verses of our Matthew text today, when Jesus calls the disciples the "salt of the earth" and challenges them to live like salt, what he's really saying to them is to live this flavoring--to live a life that is pure and sacrificial and loyal. Not just towards God. But, particularly, towards the entire world.

This is what our Isaiah text is saying to us, too. This reading is a dialogue between the Jewish people and God. They come to God saying, "Look, God! We are keeping all of the rituals you want us to keep. We fast. And we fast. But you, God--you don't seem to see it!"

Then, God says back to them, "That's not what I see. I see that your rituals--your fasts. But they don't lead you to better behavior. You don't treat your neighbors better. You don't treat your workers well. The ritual of fasting does you no good because you aren't changed by it. There's no transformation." In fact, God says, "Your fasting is selfish. It's oppressive. It's violent!" And God calls them to look at their behavior, and to understand that the purpose of the ritual is that they might be changed. And to see, that unless they are changed, none of those rituals really matter.

That transformation is what Paul is talking about in our second reading when he refers to the "mind of Christ." We become spiritual people because the Holy Spirit works on us to change our hearts. If we are open to it, we are transformed. And we begin to live that salty life--a life that is flavored by God's love. Just like my eggs were flavored by that salt.

And this brings us to the second image. That of light.

In my new apartment, all of the windows are covered with plantation shutters. Do you know which ones I'm talking about? Each slat is about 2" wide. And, you know what? No matter how tight I try to shut them at night, because of the safety lights in my apartment complex, there is always just a little light that peeks through them.

When we live a salty life, we become light. Now, it may be a little light that just peeks out into the world. But, over time, we become a strong light that shines brightly out in the world. A light that seeks to share God's love. That seeks to change the world to become the just and righteous place that God intends.

It is not God's intent that our transformation is passive. Instead, God wants us to be active. To be out in the world, active, shining brightly. Finding those dark places in our world. Opening them up to the light of God--the light of Christ. Christ, the One who knows deeply about those dark places. The one who went into those dark places for us. Willingly. Sacrificially. Into the dark places. And became Light for us and for all people, in every time and every place.

When I first came to visit this place this past December and, as I've started to settle in over these past few days, I've been watching you. I've seen your welcome--you all living into the statement in your bulletin--that the doors of this church are always open to those seeking the Good News of the Holy Gospel.

You have done that welcome incredibly well! Through the food pantry, through WISE, through the backpack and quilt ministries. You have welcomed well.

Yet, out in the world there is much darkness. As believers, God is calling us to go out. To shine our light as a congregation out there. 

Where are those dark places in Oldham County? Where are those places that resist God's justice and righteousness?

I'm wondering if, over the next several months as we begin ministry together, we might be challenged to think on these things. To wonder together how we continue to bring flavor here in this place and outside in the community. To wonder together how we continue to shine our light so that it, like the light of Christ, might never be diminished. And like the light in my apartment, find a way to peek through the darkness. To act.

I invite you to join with me in this work so that together we might be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. And I know and trust that the Holy Spirit will lead the way as we work together to carry out God's kingdom of justice and righteousness in our community and in our world.

May God grant this. Amen.

Preached February 5, 2017, at Grace and Glory Lutheran Church, Goshen, KY
5th Sunday after Pentecost
Readings: Isaiah 58:1-12, Psalm 112:1-9, 1 Corinthians 2:1-16, Matthew 5:13-20