You are the salt of the earth – you are light for all the world.
Reading: James 1: 19-27; 1 John 2: 7-11
There is a postscript to these eight beatitudes and, in a sense, without this they would be incomplete. Jesus is saying that if we seek to live our lives by the charter of the kingdom that he has just outlined in this teaching, then we will be what we were created to be, namely beatitude people, in the company of the One who does not ask us to make this journey alone but who does call us to show, to reveal him to the world.
These are two powerful images – salt and light. “What good is salt if it has lost its flavour?” asks Jesus. No matter how hard we try we can’t restore its ‘saltiness.’ It simply is worthless and is thrown away. The function of salt is to bring zest, life, taste. Our calling as friends of Jesus is to bring a whole new dimension to living. Sadly a blandness and lack of vitality characterizes much of the so-called witness of today’s church, certainly in the West. Paradoxically, in places where it is extremely difficult to be Christian, we find courageous, vibrant communities of resurrection, signs of outrageous hope for a weary, warring, anguished world. Here is precious salt, bringing out the full flavour of what it means to be citizens of the kingdom. It is possible for all of us – even here where we are right now. We may feel very small, as if our stance or our ‘witness’ couldn’t make a difference. But history is peopled with such ‘little ones’ who changed its course. The biggest ‘little one’ is Jesus himself and, after him, a long line of followers.
“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket,” says Jesus. “No – a lamp is placed on a stand where it can give light to everyone.” We are challenged to be such lights, in fact to be so visible, so public that we are like a city on a hill that just cannot be hidden. This is what happened to the friends of Jesus at Pentecost. They were set on fire with a whole new energy and power to show Jesus to the world. They were so effective that they were accused of turning the world upside down. Sometimes we may feel as if the light has gone out and that nothing can hold back the dark that seems to be creeping over the world. It only takes a pinprick of light to change everything. A single candle flame is all it takes to let the darkness know it cannot win. And as we begin again, as we allow the tiny candle of our life to bravely burn for all to see, then the promise is that everyone will pour out their praise to God, will acknowledge him. And isn’t that the nub of it all? Isn’t that why we began this journey in the first place? Alleluia!
Suggestions for Sharing:
- What character would the Christian community in your area need to portray in order to be described as salt?
- Do I ever hide my ‘little flame’ out of a false humility or a refusal to recognise that God has gifted me with ‘light’ that could enable someone else to ‘see’?