“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.14 You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 (NRSV)
When Jesus speaks, let us be careful to listen. You have heard it said, church, you are salt and light. Growing up, this metaphor did not resonate with me as much as it does now. Now that I am cooking on a regular basis, I see the grand value of salt to the flavoring and taste of food. Now that I am paying a power bill, I know what happens if you leave the lights on consistently. Salt and light impact our daily living. Thus, it seems that Jesus is beckoning us to realize that we, too, can daily bring salt and light to this earth and to our relationships. Are we willing to act upon this good word from the Lord? Are we willing to have deep reflection and listening to what salt and light is needed in our world today?
Several times in the passage Jesus points at what salt and light is good for. Perhaps, now, this is a needed reminder to us all of our inherent worth. Jesus says that YOU are salt and light. Jesus says that I am salt and light. We are good for so much on this earth in Jesus’ name! Let us be willing to do good! Let us be willing to bring the salt-flavoring of respect, listening, empowerment, and encouragement to our fellow human beings. And let us be willing to bring the perpetual light of love into all of our relationships. God does not intend for our God-given gifts to be left idle, but to actively draw on the loving-Spirit of God to inform our way of life and daily interactions. Ultimately, as the scripture connotes, people seeing our good works is not intended for our own edification. Our salt and our light are richly-rooted in our great God, and these gifts bring glory to God that can be seen, tasted, felt, and heard amongst all living creatures of the earth!