February 5, 2023
Matthew 5: 13–16
Jesus said: ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything but is thrown out and trampled underfoot.
‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
When I was growing up my parents and siblings sat down at the kitchen table for supper each evening. In those days, this was common.
My mom did not work outside the home and my dad came home from work about 5:30 every evening. As soon as he arrived, mom began putting the meal on the table. Over the years, our mealtime practices stayed intact. We prayed and then practiced manners during the meal. We tried whatever new food mom had provided, not always cheerfully. We talked about the day’s events. These things passed the test of time.
One thing that did change over those years was the place of the saltshaker on the table. Somewhere in those years the saltshaker became a grain of controversy.
I am not sure when this occurred. Maybe it was when the AMA published a study linking salt in the diet to increased rates of hypertension. I know my mom’s pharmacist brother waged a war on salt. He was known to say to a person he saw using the saltshaker “Go ahead. Shake away your life.”
It must have been then that the saltshaker disappeared from our table and it was no longer safe to say, “Please pass the salt.”
This Bible reading counters any practice of banning salt. In it we, as followers of Jesus, are called “salt of the earth.” This reading follows the Beatitudes and is part of a series of teachings called the “Sermon on the Mount.”
In the Beatitudes, Jesus announces that the kingdom of God has come for all, pronouncing all “blessed” no matter if hungry or well-fed, poor or rich, happy or sad. The kingdom of God is an inclusive reality, a promise without boundaries.
Then Jesus tells how we have a part in bringing this kingdom of God to others. He says, “You are the salt of the earth. You are light for the world.”
Think about the properties of salt. It is only effective when it is applied. Salt left to itself is just salt. It does not do anything. Salt needs to interact with something in order to be useful. Salt on the highway surface or your tongue makes a difference.
You are salt of the earth for shaking grains of grace and thereby extending to others the kingdom of God. How have you been salt lately? Where have you been shaking grains of God’s good kingdom to make a difference at work, school, home, and beyond?
Jesus also said: “You are the light of the world,” In other words, because Jesus has pronounced you “blessed” you are light, so shine the light of the Divine to show others this good kingdom of God. Amidst a world full of disagreements, be salt, be light. Think about how God has created you to bring divine flavor and reassuring light to the world.
This world needs salt and light. Check the headlines; listen to the news; glance over social media pages. There is an unusually pervasive sense of dis-ease in the world. We disagree about what is right and what is wrong. We cannot even agree about what is truth and what is not.
Tough times call for salt and light. Every day you have the privilege of depositing grains of grace and shining rays of light to bring the mercy, welcome and grace of God’s kingdom to the world.
So, this week recall Jesus word of blessing. Then share the kingdom to all within your reach, shaking grains of grace and beaming rays of hope.
**This message drawn from my book “Living Hope: Powerful Message of Faith” e-BookIt Publishing 2019