Light and Salt, Salt and Light, they go together like day and night.
But when Jesus calls us Salt and Light, we go together, zesty and bright.
Please forgive my clumsy attempt at rhyme, but I thought I might invite you to have a little fun this week while we continue to pass time sitting with Jesus and soaking in all the wisdom and counsel he dispenses during the Sermon on the Mount. This week Jesus gives his followers a new and strange identify, calling them (and us, of course) salt and light. It’s an odd combination of two metaphors that we wouldn’t normally associate together, but Jesus does tend to get our attention with some of these provocative statements, doesn’t he?
But these two ordinary things, so abundant in our lives that we can take them for granted, hold properties that are both life-giving, and life-enhancing. Perhaps the more obvious of the two is light, since it is the great light in the sky that warms and provides energy to living things, and the lesser light in the sky guided the world’s farmers for centuries before more modern methods of farming became available. Salt is also a life-giving and sustaining mineral. Our salty oceans and seas teem with life, and may indeed have been the foundation out of which all life emerged on earth. Indeed, without salt and light, we would have no life at all.
So when Jesus proclaims his disciples as salt and light, he proclaims us as life-givers, life-sustainers, and life-enhancers, each and every one of us. Salt and light are not things we will become, or things we must work to be like. No, by identifying us as salt and light, Jesus imputes to us all the properties of salt and light that reflect Jesus’ promise to bring life and bring it abundantly. If we are salt, we add flavor and savory zest to the lives of God’s people. Our Christian saltiness may be most present when we are serving others, and speaking up for those without voices. Jesus tells us that if our salt has no flavor, then it is worthless. Salt, by its nature is also a natural preservative. Our lives as salt, prevent others from spoiling, or rotting away, because of our love of Christ, and Christ’s love for all the world.
If we are light, then we shine on the world in the midst of the darkness of violence, homelessness, hunger, oppression. Our work as witnesses to Christ, illumines for others, the love of God, and the will of God to bring hope where there is despair, love where there is hate, and life where there is death. Without light shining through darkness, we fail to see the contrasts that are hidden in darkness and consequently the evils of the world are never changed because they are never seen for what they are.
Maybe salt and light are the “odd couple” of the Christian experience. But when you consider their abundance and the life-supporting properties each has, we know that as God’s children, we cannot faith in our mission as salt and light for the world.
For the full text of the sermon - CLICK HERE
Devotions for Week of February 5, 2017
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Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church (GA) in New York City has been chosen as one of eight internship congregations to participate this year in a church-wide initiative designed to increase our understanding of Holy Scripture and most importantly, to cultivate our engagement with it. In partnership with The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Vicar John Heidgerd will be working to develop innovative ways to deepen our faith formation and sense of discipleship for the sake of ourselves and our communities.