Tuesday, June 10, 2014

“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”

“Being salt and light demands two things: we practice purity in the midst of a fallen world and yet we live in proximity to this fallen world. If you don't hold up both truth in tension, you invariably becomes useless and separated from the world God loves.”

Gospel Text: (MT 5:13-16)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”

Matthew’s Gospel challenges us to ask and answer “What does it mean for us as believers to be salt and light?” Upon reflection, Jesus’s words are quite direct and specific: “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.” There is a strong emphasis that Jesus calls each of us to be in and for the world by being salt and light.

Jesus often uses ordinary images, like salt and light, to convey extraordinary insights. The discerning reader knows that ‘ordinary’ does not necessarily mean ‘simple’ and indeed these images are deep and complex. In the context of the time, salt was a valuable commodity and it was traded like we might treat gold and stocks today. Salt was essential as a food preservative and functions as a flavor enhancer. As followers of Jesus we are called to penetrate, purify and preserve the world from the manifestations of sin. As Christians we also seek to influence the world for good under the guidance of the Holy Spirit—“enhancing the flavor” of the world and those we touch in our daily lives. Where there is anxiety and sorrow we are to be the working hands of the Spirit in the world to bring comfort and peace.

The image of being a light for the world is less subtle but just as profound. A real lamp enables sight in the darkness and helps people to avoid stumbling. As followers of Jesus we are to live in the light of God’s truth and eternal love. Our presence in the world is in part to be bearers of light in our words and deeds so others may see the truth of God’s word and be freed from the burden of their own darkness. We shine a light, not for our own sake or for selfish recognition but so that those who look on might see the glory of the Father in heaven.

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