Salt and Light
By Pastor Amber Traeger
Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16
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 under foot. You are the light of the world. A town build 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world!
In this chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, it begins with Jesus retreating from the crowds that have been following and flocking towards him and his disciples. As he retreats, the disciples follow him and this is when he delivers his Sermon on the Mount. He presents the Beatitudes, identifying ways of being blessed, in a heavenly sense.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
And then Jesus goes on to say, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” You. You are. You who are poor in spirit, who mourn, are meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, you who are merciful, who are pure in heart, and persecuted for righteousness. You are the salt and the light.
What does salt do?
Salt, today, is used mainly for preserving and flavoring. Historically, salt has been used to disinfect. Scripturally, we read in Leviticus, that salt was used in ceremonial offerings. Salt had value, as it was used for barter and even currency. Roman soldiers were actually paid in salt! Salt it is said, as evidenced in Ezekiel, was once rubbed on newborns, and of course, salt would have been used in ancient cultures to slow the decay of bodies at death and in preparation for burial. Salt was essential, important.
Salt signified permanence, loyalty, usefulness, purification, and value. From birth to death, salt would have been ever-present and crucial to life.
Salt was certainly a gift.
This is precisely what Jesus is saying when he tells his disciples they are the salt of the earth. They are a gift. They are valuable, needed, and essential to life! But, salt cannot fulfill its purpose if it loses its saltiness or goes unused. Salt, never did exist to serve itself, but to serve the world.
Light. You are the light of the world!
Modern theologian and Franciscan friar, Father Richard Rohr says of this passage, “Our job is to be a shining truth, to live the truth as best we can, and let it fall where it may.”
Jesus has given his disciples a wonderful truth, and he is telling them, “Hold this light, this truth, and let it do it’s work in the world.” Let your light shine, and let it fall where it may!
Just as salt never existed to serve itself, the same goes for light. The purpose of a flame is not to draw attention to itself, but to illuminate everything around it, bringing truth to the world.
You are the salt and the light. Trinity is the salt and the light. We can see this in every ministry we do!
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