Devotion: Use this resource at home to guide your household’s daily devotions. You can do this alone, as a couple, as a family; in the morning, during the day, or at night. Find a routine that works best for you.
Pray: Light a candle and open your devotion time with a prayer.
Lord of abundant blessings, you promised hope and blessing for all people who appear not to have much. Help us to see the blessings in each of your children, and to receive whatever blessings you have in store for us, for the glory of the Lord. Amen.
Reflect: Reflect on the key verse from Sunday’s reading. [Jesus said,] “You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13
Study: Study the reading and consider the background.
Every culture has some variation of a hierarchical social structure that is critical, or even unjust to its weakest members. In Jesus’ day, those who were meek, ill, grieving, poor, or perceived as weak were the ones most likely to suffer from social inequities. Jesus came to abolish the hierarchies that caused some to suffer at the hands of others. His sermon on the mountain promised those at the bottom of the social structure that there was a reward for them that would surpass any they could receive here on earth. The gifts of God’s kingdom would be abundant for them. His words gave hope to those who may have long abandoned hope.
This story does not seek to condemn those whose lives appear blessed in the eyes of the world. Instead, it seeks to offer hope to anyone who suffers any affliction of body, mind, or spirit. It encourages us to be kind and gentle to those whose suffering is greater than ours, and gratefully to accept the help and care from those whose suffering is less.
Read: Read the following daily readings to deepen your understanding of Sunday’s text. After the reading, ask the follow-up questions.
Follow these stories of Jesus’ sermon on the mountain.
Sunday, Matthew 5:1-20, Beatitudes
Monday, Psalm 1:1-3, Psalm
Tuesday, Matthew 5:21-26, Concerning Anger
Wednesday, Matthew 5:27-32, Concerning Adultery and Divorce
Thursday, Matthew 5:33-42, Concerning Oaths and Retaliation
Friday, Matthew 5:43-48, Love for Enemies
Saturday, Matthew 6:1-6, Concerning Almsgiving
What does Jesus’ sermon tell us about the nature of God? What is God’s role in our world? What is our role?
Connect: Connect in conversation with others in your household. Discuss the following questions, or simply check in with “Highs” and “Lows.”
- What was a high point of your day? What was a low point?
- How do the guidelines in Jesus’ sermon shape your community? Which are necessary today? Which have been adjusted to reflect the modern era? How can a community remain faithful to God’s laws?
- Where do you see yourself in the hierarchy of your community? How does the impact of Jesus’ sermon on your life change if you place yourself somewhere else in the hierarchical continuum?
Do: By acting on what we learn, we make God’s word come alive. Do the following activity this week.
Set your week’s grocery budget at half of what you normally spend. Find ways to provide for yourself and/or your household with this lowered budget. Reflect on the challenges and joys of this activity.
Bless: Close your devotion with a blessing.
God who blesses in unexpected ways, give peace to those who need it as your word is read. Give challenge to those who need it at the same time. Amen.
Copyright © 2014 Clergy Stuff.. Used and adapted with Permission. Find more at www.ClergyStuff.com. Blessing written by Pr. Chip Borgstadt. Scripture quotations from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.