Epiphany 5, 2014
“Salt and Light”
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Salt and Light; they are two things that humans can’t live without. Take for example the 33 Chilean miners that were trapped for 69 days back in 2010. Because these miners were in darkness for so long they required having sunglasses upon their rescue. If they had been trapped in the darkness for too long…they would have lost their sight completely. Without light they would become blind.
Then of course there is salt. Salt is something that most people love to use on their foods…although the majority of us use way too much. That being said…did you know that the human body requires between five and ten grams of salt each day. Humans need a daily intake of salt. Unlike other chemicals that the body requires, salt, cannot be reproduced by the body. Salt is needed by the human body in order to help muscles and nerves to work and to regulate blood pressure.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
Here in our text our Lord calls us as Christians to be salt and light to the world. Just like the salt we eat and the light we see by…we are necessary for Spiritual life in a tasteless world of immorality; a dark world corrupt with sin. What a charge our Lord has given us! Yet within this high calling of the Christian…is a word of warning. “But if salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything.” (Matthew 5:13)
As Christians we are called by faith to be holy and blameless. We are called to go out and share the wonderful news of Christ. We are called to keep our Lord’s commands. The truth is that we fail…we fail often. By way of life we are called to be as useful as salt but if we aren’t useful the world will not benefit. In the same sense…Jesus is the light of the world and we are called to be reflections of that light to the world. If the light is covered or dimmed or extinguished…it has no use; for it has no light and the world becomes blind.
Alan Paton, a Christian whose life and reputation have been dedicated to the cause of justice for all, wrote in Instrument of Thy Peace: “I have no higher vision of the Church than as the Servant of the World, not withdrawn but participating, not embattled but battling, not condemning but healing the wounds of the hurt and the lost and the lonely, not preoccupied with its survival…but with the needs of mankind.”
Are we, as God’s beloved children, self-centered and preoccupied or are we sharing? Very often we, even as Christians, don’t look any different than the world around us…and that is a shame! For Christians sin just like everyone else, we lust after sinful things, we desire things that harm our faith, we lie, cheat and steal, we fall into temptations…we eat too much, drink too much, fornicate, commit adultery, divorce, and so on. On our own we are salt that has lost its saltiness and are a light that has been extinguished.
As a clean window lets the sunlight pour through it so that the room is bathed in light, so should Christians by the clarity of their confession and the purity of their lives let Christ shine through them so that the world might be flooded with light, with the knowledge that in Christ there is forgiveness and salvation.
My brothers and sisters in Christ not only is this your calling…but it is exactly what you are already able to do. You have been baptized into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; buried in death with Christ and raised again. You are special for you are God’s beloved Child. God has given you the gift of faith…faith that He created…faith that He sustains in His Word and in Jesus very body and blood.
God calls us to be Salt and Light…to produce good and wonderful works…to share the love of Christ and gives us the faith to do it. As God’s people here in Clinton/Chestnut we are called to go out and proclaim the wonderful news of Jesus. We are called to share Christ through words…and through deeds. As a Church we often focus on numbers…how much money have we brought in, how many people have become members, what number are attending… Maybe we are looking at it the wrong way. Instead of trying to come up with ways to get people in the door…we should instead focus on sharing. Sharing Christ with our friends and family. Sharing Christ with our neighbors. Sharing Christ with our daily lives.
In a small English town it was the custom that at evening Vespers the deacon would light a candle as each family of the parish entered to worship. Naturally, the more families worshipping, the more candlelight there was in the church. The more the children of God let their light shine in this darkened world, the more light of the Gospel there will be.
It is a high honor as God’s beloved children to be called Salt and Light to this world. While it may seem hard at times to share Christ…or even to help someone in need…how joyous it is to see God bring another person to faith in Christ. One of the greatest joys I have as a Pastor is not only to hold a baby and baptize them…but to give thanks to God and rejoice when He calls one of His children home. Why be Salt and Light? Why share Christ with words and deeds? Because of love. Because Christ loves you. Because you love others. There is no greater love than sharing the love of God that is Christ Jesus. Amen.
Now may the peace of God which passes all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.