Membership to the salt and light club is open – Tuesday, 10th week in ordinary time – Matthew 5:13-16
There is a confidence that Jesus exudes when it comes to his disciples. We are not some potential or some force that could bring about a change, we are a potential and a force in the world that brings about a change.
Jesus has just begun preaching the Sermon on the Mount. It begins with him addressing his disciples (5:1) but will end with him captivating crowds (7:28). Such was and is the power of His words; words that are not some by-gone popular sayings that sounds nice in the modern world but words that have the power to change lives today.
In addressing his disciples, Jesus tells them who they are and not what they could be. You ARE the salt of the earth; you ARE the light of the world. This is not something we could become; by our baptism, we get free membership to the internationally renowned ‘salt and light club’ with more than a billion members worldwide.
Yet it might has crossed your mind, could not the Lord have picked something more interesting to describe his disciples? Salt and light don’t sound upmarket in the modern world. Yet that’s exactly what he did. At the time of Jesus, salt was certainly not of the same value as a diamond but yet was of no less value. Roman soldiers received their salary in salt and to be told you are not ‘worth your salt’ simply meant you were not worth the salary you were receiving. The very word salary is a derivate of the word salt.
We are members of the salt and light club, yet we could lose our membership not because we have been kicked out of the club but simply because we have not used the facilities and opportunities of that membership and as a consequence our membership has lapsed. Unlike a club membership which could be reapplied for, the membership of the salt and light club is not easy to restore.
What use is a Christian who has received the ability to bring ‘flavour’ to the lives of people, who has received the ability to ‘preserve’ and defend life, to be a ‘valued commodity’ in society and yet has never used any of those abilities. The rules of the salt and light club are stringent, “it is (they are) good for nothing and can only be trampled underfoot by man.
But this ‘salt and light club’ does not seek to run as an exclusive or privileged club rather it is a gathering of people in service. When salt is added to food, no one says the salt in the chicken curry is very good but rather we simply say the chicken curry is good. Yet if there is no salt in the curry one would be quick to name salt as the precise ingredient that is missing. Salt is nameless when it serves its purpose because by its very nature it enhances the dish without drawing attention to itself and so should a Christian.
Light is no different! A candle light by day makes no sense. Yet the sun slipping below the horizon reminds every one of the need of light. No one admires the beauty of light for light has one purpose, to dispel darkness. The Christian is called to be like salt and like light. As salt dissolves it brings flavour and as it disappears physically it yet leaves a distinctive irreplaceable flavour. As light shines, it illuminates the darkness and dispels fear yet at the crack of dawn it does not protest that it has to be extinguished but waits to be of service again.
Again, light does not change a room: it enables us to see what is in it. It helps us appreciate what is good and beautiful, just as it facilitates avoiding pitfalls. We are children of the light: our lives are illumined by Jesus, the light of the world (John 8:12). This light helps us to see the hidden hope of glory that is in us. So, we can rejoice even in the darkness of the world
“Letting your light shine before others” is not putting on an act or drawing attention to your good qualities. It is simply acting as best you can according to the lights that you have been given.
As you read this text, you might want to check on your salt and light membership. Are you an active member, is your membership about to lapse or has it lapsed already (In which case you are good for nothing…..not my words but that of Jesus 🙂