On Being Salty

Why are Christians so often seen as the bland, boring, sticks-in-the-mud? Why is our reputation more often for being “against things” than for things?

This state of affairs stands in direct contrast to Jesus’ declaration: “You are the salt of the earth.” This teaching makes plain that the church is meant to bring flavor to life, to augment people’s experience of it, the way that even a pinch of salt can do to any recipe.

Jesus warns us that when we lose our saltiness, we lose our usefulness. Absent alchemy, salt doesn’t really lose its saltiness, unless it gets diluted with too many other things. When our Christian faith gets diluted with doctrinal disputes, sectarian infighting, argumentation and disputation, and all manner of side issues beyond the central message of the gospel—love—then we lose our saltiness and we’re no good to anyone.

When we focus on Jesus’ central message of love for all people that we find that we can inject flavor into other people’s lives. We can augment their experience with messages of hope, grace, justice, and love. We can truly be the salt of the earth.

Rev. Mark Schaefer, Pastor


Thanks to everyone who participated in worship services Sunday. Thanks to Jeff Griffith for leading us in worship and for reading our scripture lessons, and to Chiara and the Choir for providing our beautiful music.
         Sermon: “Salt and Light,”  Rev. Mark Schaefer
         Sunday’s attendance: 43
         Collection: $ 1,181.50

Sermon: “A Higher Standard,” Rev. Mark Schaefer
Scripture Lessons: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Matthew 5:21-37

Want to help out in worship? Use our online sign-up to be a greeter, usher, liturgist, lector, or communion server.

Community Events & Information

Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m., Cheltenham UMC
Rev. Schaefer continues the weekly Bible study this week and every Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.  We will be doing a deeper dive into the lectionary texts used on Sunday during worship. Everyone is welcome to attend. No prior experience required!
Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer,
Wednesday, February 12, 2–4 p.m.

Rev. Schaefer’s “office” hours in the community this week will be Wednesday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Main Street Coffee & Treats in Upper Marlboro (14708 Main St, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772). Feel free to stop on by!
Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer,
Link:  Google Map 

A Joshua tree in the Arizona desertMarch 1–April 12, 2020

When you’re in the wilderness of want, fear, despair, tragedy, death and loss, or betrayal—where is God then? Beginning next month, we will be embarking on a Lenten Sermon series exploring the experience of journeying through the wildernesses of our lives. 
Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer,

Regular Weekly Calendar

  • Monday
    • Monday Methodists, 9 a.m.
    • Knitting Circle, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday
    • Cheltenham Academy, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Pastor’s Bible Study, 9:30 a.m.
    • Pastor’s Office Hours, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
    • AA and Al-Anon, 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday
    • SLOGGS Meeting, 11:30 a.m.
    • Pastor’s “Office” Hours, 2–4 p.m.
      • Main Street Coffee & Treats, Upper Marlboro
    • Band, 6 p.m.
    • Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m.
  • Friday
    • Pastor’s Sabbath
  • Sunday
    • Sunday School, 9 a.m.
    • Sunday Worship, 10 a.m.
    • Fellowship, 11 a.m.

Prayer List

Becky Benton, in the hospital for observation and evaluation
Crystal’s friend, diagnosed with Parkinson's
Clark's friend Jeff, suffering from a difficult UTI
Logan, hospitalized and suffering complications with medication
Marlice, suffering heart problems
Alice Roberson, mourning the death of her son Jeff
Elsie and Chuck Taylor, in the hospital
Liane and all those returning to college for the semester
The friends and family of Ronnie Carroll, mourning his death
Joanne, going in for a heart stent test
Nancy, recovering from surgery
Melissa, recovering from a car accident
The Werner family, facing illnesses
Linda, recovering from a car accident
Traveling mercies for Sarah and Aiden
The people of Australia experiencing wildfires
Those in the armed services soon to be deployed abroad, and their families
The friends and family of Jennifer Creech, mourning her death
The Sawez family, mourning the death of their father Ehsan
Michael Kidwell, in need of surgery after a fall
Ellie, in need of a hip replacement
Marilyn, recovering from a heart attack
The family of baby Lindley, at St. Jude's
Yousef, in need of physical healing

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