Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
REFORMATION, HERITAGE AND WITNESS
St. Matthew 5:13-20
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?... You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Verse 13,14)
The Sermon on the Mount is the essential teachings of Jesus focusing the disciples in particular and the ordinary crowd in general. These are the
principles of practical Christian living. Jesus uses two metaphors to
describe and prescribe who his followers are and what they do for and in the world.
You are the Salt of the earth: As disciples, Jesus gives them a distinctive capacity to elicit goodness on earth. Like salt, which is used to enhance or alter taste of food, the disciples are called to bring about remarkable change in the society. Apart from the obvious role of salt in flavoring and preserving, in the ancient world it was seen as a purifying or cleansing agent. (Exodus 30:35) In some connection it was a required addition to sacrifices, some times spoken of as the salt of the covenant. (Numb.18:19) It was also used to brighten the light of lamps and perhaps to enhance the efficiency of baking ovens. Thus salt was recognized as a fundamental human necessity. The danger for disciples is that they may lose that quality if they forget their responsibility to value the dispossessed, care for those who suffer, seeking to do justice, showing mercy, having integrity, being peacemakers, and courageously standing for what they believe. The disciples who do not engage in such practices that humanize life on earth will be like salt that has lost its taste.
You are the Light of the world: The light metaphor presents the disciples as illumination for the world. The primary function of light is not to be seen, but let things be seen as they are. It is the light that dispels darkness and makes the world colorful. Further, light helps to sustain life by imparting energy to all the living beings upon the earth. In those days, lamps were small, yet in a dark one-room house in Palestine, even a small lamp “gives light to all in the house”(v.15) Jesus encourages his followers to bring light to a dark and broken world. The light is the light of the gospel and it draws people to its warmth and radiance. This is the mission of the church - to reflect the light that it receive from the Master Light. (Remember Jesus’ words – “I am the light of the world) The motto of our church is very significant in this context – “Lighted to Lighten”. Archbishop William Temple is often quoted as saying, “ The church is the only organization on earth that exist for those who are not its members.” In order for the light to be seen, we must be willing to go where the darkness exist, to engage and walk through it, bearing the light of Christ.
Prayer: Lord, by being the salt and light for others help us to fulfill the law as Jesus suggested: To love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul; and our neighbors as ourselves. Amen
Rev. Joseph Johnny, New York