Herb Wounded Head, Brookings, SD

Warm-up Question

How much sleep do you usually get? Is it enough?

Are You Feeling Salty?

We all need sleep in order to be able to function at our best from day to day. According to one study,  if you’re a teenager you need 8-10 hours of sleep. If you’re a young adult, you need 7-9 hours of sleep. In this day and age, it seems harder and harder to get enough sleep. It can be daunting, to say the least, in these years of busy-ness and homework and deadlines, to get enough sleep. 

A story on National Public Radio reports that one school in Michigan is trying some new things in order to help students function at their highest level. Eastern Flex Academy in Lansing, Michigan has a pilot program where students start their classes at 3pm, (3pm!) and goes until 8pm at night. The program was started to help students with internships, part-time jobs and even family responsibilities.  One student noted that the they can get the sleep they need to and can do more throughout the day while having a good night’s rest.

Discussion Questions

  • What would it be like for you to get a good night’s rest every night?
  • What changes would you make in your life in order to make sure you get enough sleep?

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 58:1-9a [9b-12]

1 Corinthians 2:1-12 [13-16]

Matthew 5:13-20

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

What would we do without salt? Our body needs a certain amount of salt in order to function. It is used as to cure meats and on the sidewalks to make them less slippery. It is used as seasoning on food to give it a better taste. But if salt is overused or mixed with too many other things, it loses its saltiness. So it goes with Jesus’ disciples. If we find ourselves doing too much and spreading ourselves too thin, we can lose the saltiness which is our relationship with God, and even our own sense of purpose in the world. One of the ways we can notice that we are spread too thin is by our sleep patterns. Do you get enough sleep and rest? It’s difficult to answer God’s call if we aren’t taking care of ourselves.

God places a high calling on our lives. Not so much that we need to be the purest, most holy, or best disciples.  Far from it! Our calling is to be people of God, such that we reflect God’s holiness and righteousness in and through us. We are a beacon on a hill which shines so brightly in our baptisms that all the world can see the glory of God. This is indeed a high calling, one in which God has called our true, salty, sinful selves into action. God needs us, as we are, in order to make God’s kingdom known throughout the world. 

All too often, we think that we aren’t invited to this high calling. We can see this by our own activity in the world. Are we living too much in comfort? Are we too conformed to this world, so that the busy-ness of life becomes something that we think we need in order to succeed? God calls and redeems us through God’s light in the world, Jesus Christ, to provide justice, mercy and love to an all too broken world.

Discussion Questions

  • How can you be the salt of the earth? 
  • What are some ways that you can do justice in the world?
  • Where can you provide mercy?

Activity Suggestions

Make a 3 foot by 3 foot square out of duct tape in your meeting place. Tell your people that they all need to fit in this square in order to complete the task. If the square is too large for your group, make it smaller. This activity relies heavily on teamwork and communication and is a good team building tool for small groups.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly and gracious God, you have called us as your own and have formed and shaped us to be your people. Help us to grow more fully into a community of believers that trust in your Word. Be with those who are not with us, who may be struggling or suffering in this world; give them a sense of peace that passes all understanding and bring us all closer to you.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.