Worship for Sunday 5th February, by Deacon Pru Cahill

This week we continue to think on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as he encourages his disciples to be salt and light in the world.

Prayer of Approach

May the challenge of the gospel shape us.
May the truth of the gospel inspire us.
May the promise of the gospel encourage us.
May the urgency of the gospel compel us.
May the warnings of the gospel challenge our complacency.
May the Lord of the gospels rejoice with us
as we worship in his name. Amen.

Hymn: StF 409 Let us Build a House

Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak, and words are strong and true,
where all God’s children dare to seek to dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness and as symbol of God’s grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:
All are welcome …

Let us build a house where love is found in water, wine, and wheat:
a banquet hall on holy ground where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus, is revealed in time and space;
as we share in Christ the feast that free us:
All are welcome …

Let us build a house where hands will reach beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach, and live the Word they’ve known.
Here the outcast and the stranger bear the image of God’s face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger:
All are welcome …

Let us build a house where all are named, their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter, prayers of faith and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
All are welcome …

Marty Haugen (b 1950)

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Father God,
thank you that you have prepared for us
far more than we can ever hope, believe or imagine;
no eye, no ear, no heart can conceive
what you have prepared for those who love you.
That is so amazing!

Thank you that you restore us and transform us
to become the people you have called us to be.
Thank you that you are the light of the world.
Thank you that you are the salt of the earth.

Thank you that in you we can be salt and light too, that we can go out and revitalise our communities, bringing hope and renewal to our families, our friends, our neighbours and our churches. Amen

and Confession

For the times when we have not been salt,
and failed to reveal your flavour to the world around us; forgive us Lord.

For the times when we have hidden our light,
either deliberately or unthinkingly;
forgive us Lord.

For the times when we have thought only of ourselves, when our light has been powered by self, and not by you, our God;
forgive us Lord.

For the times we carry on regardless,
despite and through our mistakes;
forgive us Lord.

May we be your light and flavour,
wherever we are, and whatever we do.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven
hallowed be your name

Your kingdom come
Your will be done
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread,
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm 112: 1-9

Praise the Lord.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
    who find great delight in his commands.

Their children will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
    and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
    for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
    who conduct their affairs with justice.

Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
    their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn will be lifted high in honour.

Matthew 5: 13-20

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Hymn: StF 255 The Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God is justice and joy;

For Jesus restores what sin would destroy.

God’s power and glory in Jesus we know;

And here and hereafter the kingdom shall grow.


The kingdom of God is mercy and grace;

The captives are freed, the sinners find place,

The outcast are welcomed God’s banquet to share;

And hope is awakened in place of despair.


The kingdom of God is challenge and choice:

Believe the good news, repent and rejoice!

God’s love for us sinners brought Christ to his cross:

Our crisis of judgement for gain or for loss.


God’s kingdom is come, the gift and the goal;

In Jesus begun, in heaven made whole.

The heirs of the kingdom shall answer his call;

And all things cry “Glory!” to God all in all.

Bryn Rees (1911 – 1983)

Salt and Light

Even a small amount of salt can make all the difference in bringing out the flavours in a simple meal.

Even a dim light allows us to see our way in the dark.

Jesus said, ‘You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.’

Salt and light are their names – it is what they are called, but also what they do.

Today’s reading from Matthew’s gospel is part of the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew puts the core of Jesus’ ethical teaching into three chapters. In these, Jesus teaches about heaven and earth, about life and death.

Both salt and light are essential to life:-

  • Without salt and without light we would die
  • Just a little makes all the difference

In the ancient world salt was highly valued – the cost of its extraction and transportation made it a precious commodity. Sometimes a gift of salt was given to confirm a contract.

In the Old Testament, the book of Leviticus describes how, when people brought grain sacrifices to the temple, they were to add salt seasoning as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and covenant.

By the time of Jesus’ ministry, Israel was being likened to salt, but because Israel was beginning to lose its direction, its vitality, Jesus gave his warning.

Salt, then as now was used for seasoning, purifying, preserving, restoring and healing and so we are able to made the connection between the commodity salt and the need for Christians to be like salt in the world.

In the time of Jesus unrefined “salt” collected from the Dead Sea contained impurities which over time made the rest – the good stuff – stale and flat – so that the whole batch lost its saltiness. Even the little bit which might have been effective became useless and had to be thrown away.

So then we, as salt of the earth must take action to ensure that we retain our saltiness so that we are useful.

Jesus calls us to be as distinct and effective in the place we are. To retain our saltiness by

  • By being what we are called to be – witnesses to Christ
  • By being salt in the place where we can be most effective. Just as salt is sprinkled into the plate of food we are most effective when we are mixed in!
  • By staying close to scripture – salt of the earth but rooted and grounded in God’s word which enables us to retain our keenness and edge, retaining our saltiness.

 God can use all of us in different ways – some are obvious and visible, others are less obvious and rarely or even never seen; nevertheless all are essential and part of the richness of God’s kingdom, the kingdom he calls us to be a part of!

Hymn: StF 446  I will Offer up my Life

I will offer up my life in spirit and truth
Pouring out the oil of love, as my worship to you
In surrender I must give my every part
Lord, receive this sacrifice of a broken heart.

Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a Friend, to so loving a King?
Saviour, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name for the things You have done?

Oh, my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart.

You deserve my every breath, for You’ve paid the great cost
Giving up your life to death, even death on the cross.
You took all my shame away, there defeated my sin,
Open up the gates of heaven and have beckoned me in.

Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring…

Matt Redman (b 1974)


We pray, gracious God,
for your Church throughout the world,
for your Church in this nation, in this place,
that we would be light bearers and truth bearers.
May we shed the light of encouragement
where there is disappointment;
the light of integrity where there is corruption;
the light of clarity where there is uncertainty;
the light of challenge where there is complacency;
the light of acceptance where there is rejection.

And may we always walk and pray and serve
in the light of humility and in the strength of your name, that others may see you in us and give you the glory.
We pray in Jesus’ name.


Hymn: StF 397 The Spirit Lives to Set us Free

The Spirit lives to set us free,

Walk, walk in the light;

He binds us all in unity,

Walk, walk in the light.

Walk in the light,

Walk in the light,

Walk in the light,

Walk in the light of the Lord.

Jesus promised life to all,

Walk, walk in the light;

The dead were wakened by his call,

Walk, walk in the light.

Walk in the light…

He died in pain on Calvary,

Walk, walk in the light;

To save the lost like you and me,

Walk, walk in the light.

Walk in the light…

We know his death was not the end,

Walk, walk in the light;

He gave his Spirit to be our friend,

Walk, walk in the light.

Walk in the light…

The Spirit lives in you and me,

Walk, walk in the light;

His light will shine for all to see,

Walk, walk in the light.

Walk in the light…

Damian Lundy (1944 – 1996)



May the God who creates the salt so essential to life help us live in every moment of each day.

May the Son who used the metaphor of salt to describe discipleship help us to share the gospel of life.

May the Spirit who challenges us to be salt in the world help us to salt the world with justice and peace.

May the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon us and remain with us always.