Can you picture yourself back in Bible times, sitting on a hillside listening attentively to Jesus — and after he tells you in the Beatitudes all the ways you are blessed, he then tells you that you are SALT — and LIGHT!
“You are the salt of the earth…” “You are the light of the world…”
Not — you SHOULD BE salt and light — or COULD BE if you felt like working for it — BUT — you already ARE salt and light … It was his remarkable way of describing how priceless each person is! SALT in those days was a valuable commodity (the word “salary” stems from using salt as currency) and salt was such an important part of life that Greeks considered it to be divine. LIGHT, of course, was indispensable because it was (still is) what illuminates the dark…
With those words in Matthew 5, Jesus was reminding his listeners — both then and NOW — what God had created us to BE and to DO. SALT is what can make the difference between “blah and ordinary” and “flavorful and delicious…” LIGHT is what makes the difference between not being able to see your hand in front of your face and moving around with ease. God made you and me to be “salty” — to enhance and to enliven — and to use our God-given gifts to SHINE — NOT to be tempted to hide our special Light under a bushel basket.
Even though we may sometimes feel small and insignificant, a pinch of salt or a spark of light can make a TREMENDOUS difference. In the same way that one single candle is visible for over a mile — even one small act of love can light up someone’s day in ways you can’t begin to imagine. On Sunday, we will sing Marty Haugen’s powerful hymn, YOU ARE SALT FOR THE EARTH, O PEOPLE (click here to listen). The refrain declares our calling:
“Bring forth the reign of mercy , bring forth the reign of peace… Bring forth the reign of justice, bring forth the City of God!”