Law of Love – Matthew 5:21-37 – Pastor Mandi

Happy are they who walk in the law of the Lord



Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen


Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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God is love and we are God’s children. There is no room for fear in love. We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.


God our Father,

we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


God, who is both power and love,

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

sung by Sue St Joseph


Almighty God, grant that with our minds set always

on your wisdom and love,

we may pursue both in word and deed

those things that are pleasing in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God world without end. Amen


Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 read by Annette Beagrie

“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall certainly perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him, for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Pin on Living Word (Jesus)


1 Corinthians 3: 1-9 read by Andrew Ratnam

On Divisions in the Corinthian Church

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people but rather as fleshly, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still fleshly. For as long as there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not fleshly and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not all too human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and each will receive wages according to their own labour. For we are God’s co-workers, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 | New Life Narrabri


Matthew 5: 21-37 read by Rev Chris Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Matthew chapter 5 beginning at verse 21

Glory to Christ our Saviour

Concerning Anger

“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.

Concerning Adultery

“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.

Sermon on the Mount – Ancient Anglican

Concerning Divorce

“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 sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Concerning Oaths

“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 5:21-26 | A More Excellent Way | Matthew Dodd - YouTube

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious Gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord.


PPT - RADICAL LOVE PowerPoint Presentation, free download - ID:5394933

When you hear the word radical what comes to your mind? If you were to say the word “radical” to the average person, the name of “Jesus” will likely not be the first thing that springs to anyone’s mind.   If you think about “radical acts,” the Sermon on the Mount is unlikely to come to mind, either.   Radicals throw Molotov cocktails at police and stage sit-ins and carry placards in the town square.  But that’s not Matthew 5-7!  We like to think of the Sermon on the Mount as gentle and soothing but in fact, it is quite radical!

A while ago now in New Testament studies at New College I was reminded that the word radical comes from the Latin word “radix” which means root. The radix gets at the root, at the origin of something.  And so there is a sense in which a radical is someone who wants to return something like a religious belief system or a political system to what it was intended to be in the beginning, at the root of all things. In Matthew 5 Jesus is indeed a radical because what he is doing with God’s Law here is radicalizing it, getting everyone’s attention back to the basics and the root origin of God’s commands.  From the outside looking in, it looks like Jesus is making the Law of God new and ridiculously hard to keep.  

“You haven’t slept with a woman not your wife?  Good for you.  But you looked at your co-worker Helen and thought about it so that ‘Do not commit adultery’ command is in shambles in your life as far as God is concerned.”

“You haven’t stabbed anyone through the chest or shoved someone to his death off a cliff?  Good for you but when in your anger you told Francis last week to go take a flying leap, in God’s eyes the ‘Do not murder’ command snapped quite cleanly in two in your life.”

“You haven’t sworn out a false oath in God’s name?  Good for you but when you knowingly lied to your boss about what you did while attending the convention by saying ‘I swear on my children’s life,’ then in God’s eyes the ‘Do not give false witness’ command died a sudden death because your children are God’s children and they bear his image.” Tough stuff.

But is Jesus changing the Law into something new and different and harder to keep?  No, he is radicalizing it, he is bringing everyone back to the roots of why God gave the Law in the first place.   The point is that the Law of God was meant to foster human flourishing at every level, including at the deepest levels of our hearts and minds.  God wants us to respect each other, to love each other, to see God’s own image residing deep within one another.  Human life is not supposed to be some giant game in which you scheme and scam to strive ahead for yourself. We are not to use people as pawns, as objects of our lust, as vehicles for our scorn, as the targets for our desires to brutalize, manipulate, and then discard.

On the contrary, the root origin of God’s Law is about other people and about God himself. It is about how we see and treat others. It is about how we treat them in our heart of hearts?   Do we think it doesn’t matter how furious we are at every driver who cuts us off or makes some mistake in traffic (a driving mistake that we surely have made more than once ourselves)?   Do we think it’s pleasant to nurse a grudge for years such that every time we see Jack and Jill our innards coil up and bile curdles all over again in our gut?   Do we think that that attractive guy or that fetching woman exists for our pleasure only?  Do we think that this other person who just asked us a question is so worthless as to be undeserving of hearing the truth?

Let’s face it, by getting back to the radix, the root of the Law, Jesus really does highlight the sin of every last one of us. There is a sense that the larger function of Jesus’ teachings on the Law is to cast us back to a reliance on grace alone. We are sufficiently mired in sin and selfishness that we know full well how easy it is to see ourselves in the pictures Jesus sketches. But Jesus is not just being tough on us: he is at the end of the day reminding us of a truth that is actually so very encouraging: God created us to flourish in his good creation.  God wants all of us to flourish. We are made to flourish.

Mahatma Gandhi Quote: “It is the law of love that rules mankind.”

To flourish we must first get rid of murderous intent. Jesus says that: Murder is a sin, but so is hatred. Hatred devalues human life. Hatred says to another person: “you fool.” And, here’s the problem: Do we expect to avoid the judgement of God because we have never physically murdered anyone? Jesus says, think again. Hatred directed toward another human being — also created in the image of God — is subject to the judgement of God. And, I believe Jesus means what he says — such hatred is to have no place in our lives. It eats us up, it consumes us and so it prevents us from flourishing. Flourishing is all to do with forgiveness and love. For after all, despite all our flaws God forgives and loves us, so we are to forgive and love others, despite all their flaws. As scripture says: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Flourishing is about loving each other deeply.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a  multitude of sins. | New International Version (NIV) | Download The Bible  App Now

To love each other deeply, we must not be content to look at the surface of our lives- at our words and deeds. We must look at our motivations- we need to look at what is going on within us – at our thoughts, intentions, attitudes, and desires. When all is said and done it is the heart that matters. It’s what’s in the heart that matters. The heart is what I am deep down. It’s the real me, and what is in the heart will come out. The state of the heart will deeply affect how I live. This is what Jesus is getting at, in this particular section of his teaching. The heart of the problem is the human heart.

It is only in recent times that magazines have written about recreational sex. Sex is the second strongest instinct in the human person, after self-preservation. Our sexual instincts have the capacity to run riot, causing adultery of the heart. Jesus knows that the heart of the problem is the heart. He confirms the Old Law but he goes much further in saying that if a man looks lustfully on a woman, they have already sinned. Women can be violated by men’s attitudes, not just by physical acts. Women are cheapened when they are simply treated as sex objects, and Jesus asks his disciples to forgo that violence. I assume that the same applies of women in their lusting after men.

However, the focus here is on women because of the culture of that time. In those days a man could divorce his wife even if she burnt her husband’s food. Jesus is showing respect for women here. The Law of Moses allowed for divorce but it wasn’t possible for a wife to divorce her husband. Jesus is putting here, husband and wife on equal footing. Both are equally obliged to make the marriage work. When a husband can divorce his wife for any reason, there is no need to explore and evaluate what is weakening his commitment; he is simply getting rid of what no longer pleases him.

Oswald J. Smith Quote: “The heart of the human problem, is the problem of the  human

But let’s be real, divorce is different today. The church rightly in my mind permits a divorced person to remarry. The matter I think that is being explored here in this particular teaching is that of true love. True love will neither exploit nor abuse the other. True love will be willing to sacrifice for the other and to have the best interests of the other always at heart. True love supports, encourages, and perseveres. That love as it says in 1 Corinthians 13 never fails. It is this love that we are called to mirror in our lives.

This love as 1st Corinthians 13 says rejoices in the truth. Jesus is underlying in this section of his teaching the importance of honesty. The words of a person should match the thoughts of the heart. In honest communication, the type of communication that sustains community life, yes and no is all that is needed- no oath taking is required! Love demands trust in an environment of openness and mutual confidence. Love requires honesty.

Quote: Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1... -  CoolNSmart

This powerful text from the Sermon on the Mount suggests that we search the mind and heart and come to self- knowledge around a few crucial issues. We should know how anger rises in us, comes to expression, and then subsides. We should watch lust and note how it grips us and rushes us along paths we may not choose. We should also come to understand how we want shortcuts on forgiveness; how we hesitate and completely stall when it comes to initiating reconciling conversations. Coming to this knowledge is the work we must do, if we wish to heed Jesus’ teaching on the law of love. This law of love might sound unattainable for us mortals but Jesus is calling us, nonetheless, to adopt his law of love; to choose life, to flourish and be his co-workers. Amen


Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

God from God,

Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


Prayer Requests – Baildon Methodist Church

God of the resurrection

Strengthen and renew us

God you have shown in Jesus your love for us,

so we entrust to you now our cares and concerns.

Gracious God, we come before you with faltering faith

with doubts and anxieties,

teach us to wait patiently on your presence

rekindle within us the gift of grace and gratitude.

God of the resurrection

Strengthen and renew us

The 60 Integrity Quotes - lovequotesmessages

Loving God, we thank you for your holy word

that speaks into our lives.

Help us to take your word to heart.

As we examine ourselves.

awaken in us afresh

our utter dependence on your grace.

Empower us to choose life

by adopting your law of love.

God of the resurrection

Strengthen and renew us

Generous God, may our society be mindful of

those who have particular difficulties.

May our laws testify to our sense of justice,

honour and integrity;

may the world’s leaders be wisely advised

and honestly motivated.

God of the resurrection

Strengthen and renew us

Compassionate God, we lift to you those

whose homes and families have been destroyed

by earthquakes or war,

and pray that they will receive

the international help and support they need.

We pray especially for families in Turkey, Syria and Ukraine

as they seek to rebuild their lives,

after much destruction and loss.

God of the resurrection

Strengthen and renew us

Faithful God, we pray for all

who are under stress or strain at this time,

we ask that they may experience your faithful presence and love.

Give them coping skills and mechanisms

and grant them your peace and comfort.

God of the resurrection

Strengthen and renew us

coronavirus photo – Free Corona Image on Unsplash

Wise and all understanding God,

we pray for all who are battling with illness.

Give courage to the long-term and chronically ill

and give respite to those who are at their wits’ end.

Hear our prayer for those known to us

that are sick or suffering at this time,

and touch them with your healing and love.

God of the resurrection

Strengthen and renew us

Gentle God, we remember those

who have lost loved ones recently.

Grant them your peace and comfort.

We lift to you those for whom

this month is the anniversary of the death of a loved one.

May they know your solace

and be filled with your loving presence.

God of the resurrection

Strengthen and renew us

350+ Gratitude Pictures [HD] | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Holy God, with great thankfulness we praise you

for your constant faithfulness to us,

your recognition of our deepest thoughts

and your desire for our healing and wholeness.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

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.

Do not bring us

to the time of trial+

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power

and the glory are yours,

now and forever. Amen.

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Christ the Son of God gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.



Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen


St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.


You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.


And, as always, if you need us, you can contact  

Annual General Meeting:

The Annual General Meeting will take place on the 1st October. As usual it will be held within the context of the 11am service. There will be a bring and share lunch and the formal meeting will follow. Forms for nominations to the elected vacancies are at the back of the church.  The AGM papers are at the back of the church.  If they run out, please ask the Church Office.    If you prefer to receive them by email, please sign the sheet at the back of the church.  You only need to give your name, assuming we have your up to date email address.  If you will NOT be able to attend the AGM, and would like your apologies noted, there is a sheet to sign for this as well.  If you wish to raise a matter under Any Other Business please let Margaret Morton have the details of that by 12 noon on Friday 29th September. memorton@mypostoffice.co.uk or 01387 262734


If there is sufficient demand, we hope to run a trip (destination not decided on, yet, but suggestions welcome) in mid-October (possibly 14th or 21st, date still to be decided);  we may also run something in mid-November, and there has been a suggestion we might go to the Christmas Market in Hawkshead (near Ambleside/Windermere) on or about 2 December.  Watch this space!

Other Dates for your Diary:

  • Friday, 06/10/2023:                                           Beetle Drive*
  • Friday, 19/01/2024:                                           Burns Supper
  • Thursday,  14/03/2024                                      Pamper Session
  • Saturday, 16/03/2024                                        Men’s Breakfast

* See notice below….


  • A gentle reminder to those who have bought tickets for Cook and Taste India – this will take place in the Hall on Saturday 30th September at 2.30 pm. Come ready to enjoy all the goodies on offer, and watch out for the raffle prizes, too.
  • Watch out for MU Prayer space which is held on the second Thursday of the month, via Zoom, at 12noon and 8pm. You’ve (probably) just missed Peace & Reconciliation this week, but forthcoming sessions include Faith in Action (12 Oct), Gender Justice (9 Nov) and God With Us (14 Dec).  Details on the poster on the lit noticeboard, and also the St J’s website.  The Church Office (pastadmin@stjohnsdumfries.,org) can provide Zoom joining details.  The invitation to join in ‘Prayer Space’ is not just for MU members…(see above)

We are hoping to have different themes in the window bays in the church at Harvest, particularly celebrating the theme of ‘Gifts’.  If you would like to contribute towards the cost of the flowers, provide some kind of gift, or would like to take on decorating a bay yourself, please speak to Carolynne or Janice.

Activities are resuming after the summer break.  Short Mat Bowling will resume, in the Hall, this Tuesday, 26/09/2023;  the Quiz Nights will resume this Friday, 29/09/2023, both at 7.30pm.

On the subject of activities, please support the Beetle Drive here at St J’s Hall on Friday, 06/10/2023.  Doors open 18.30;  eyes (however many you have) down at 19.00. There will be a refreshment break halfway through (no bush tucker involved), and a raffle.  No entry fee, but donations invited.  If you’ve never played before, don’t worry;  all will be explained, and it should be fun.

Dumfries Christian Network tells us…

African Children’s Choir on Monday 25th September at 2.00pm in St Andrew’s Church (picture of poster below…note that the time is incorrectly stated on the poster;  concert starts at 2pm, not 2.30pm)

Quartz says…

  • CLC:  This is the Quartz house group, we meet every second Monday. More info is on the website. [www.wordsmithcrafts.co.uk].  On the 05/10/2023, we are planning to meet at Tatyana’s!  Please get in touch if you need directions. 
  • Forest Church:  We will continue to meet at the Crichton on the 3rd Sunday in the Month.  
  • Magazine:  A Quartz review is being written for the Autumn/Winter St Johns Magazine. You can still read the last one in the current magazine which can be downloaded from the St John’s website or picked up in the building.
  • The Blog:  This site is maintained by Wordsmith Crafts CIC. Sometimes the content comes from people who have sent things in. There is the capacity to let other people post blogs directly too, and these will be tagged with their name. This expands the use of the site to encourage discussion, even for those who cannot physically meet in one place often. If you would like to contribute, or recommend someone, please get in touch.
  • An invitation:  Would you like to become more involved in Quartz?   We will be publishing a list of ideas for projects. If you are inspired and would like to contribute an idea have a quick search on the website for similar things to compare it with what Quartz has done in the past – then send your idea in. Once the list is published, we will be trying to find people to help make them happen! Involvement in one activity does not commit you to being involved in any others (unless you want to be). If you are willing to be more involved in the planning and selection of ideas let us know.

Dumfries Academy tell us…We would be extremely grateful if you could share details about our Fairtrade Coffee Morning with your congregation.  It is being held on Saturday, 30th of September, 10am – 12:00 pm at St George’s Church Hall.  All the money raised will help pupils to finance a life changing trip to Kenya in 2024.   Entry costs £5 for adult and children can attend for free!

There will be live musical performances by pupils throughout the morning,  a raffle and a selection of stalls selling home-baking, second-hand books and home-made jewellery.  

It promises to be a good day!

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service will be at 6pm on Sunday 21st September followed by refreshments in the hall.


St John's Church

2 days 14 hours ago

Sunday 24th September is our Seventeenth Sunday Service after Pentecost. There is an Eucharistic service at 11:00 am. Do join us- be great to see you! Tonight there is a

St John's Church

6 days 17 hours ago

You are must welcome to join us for our contemporary service this Sunday in St John’s at 6pm. Be great to see you! 👍

St John's Church

1 week 4 days ago

Choral Evensong will take place at St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries, on Sunday 17th September at 6pm, sung by the Choir of St John's Church, Dumfries, in memory of

St John's Church

3 weeks 3 days ago

Sunday 3rd September is our Fourteenth Sunday Service after Pentecost. There is an Eucharistic service at 11:00 am. Do join us- be great to see you! Tonight there is evensong