Rev. Daniel Eggold
Feb 15, 2020
Isaiah 58:3–9a; Psalm 112:1–9; 1 Corinthians 2:1–12 (13–16); Matthew 5:13–20
You are salt, Jesus says. You are light. You are flavorful and bright. Sprinkled and sparkling, you season things and shine!
In the Sermon on the Mount, stretching our understanding of faith, Jesus gives countless teachings that are daunting, to say the least (love your enemies; turn the other cheek; go the extra mile).
But first, he pronounces blessings--surprising ones. Blessed are the poor, the grieving, the persecuted. It is hardly what we expect. But Jesus is opening us up to the view from the kingdom. Then: You are salt for the earth, light for the world. Another surprise! Another blessing!
We may be far more aware of how we have grown stale and hidden whatever light we once thought we had. We may feel dull from anxiety and stress, in danger of being snuffed out or trampled underfoot. In naming us salt and light, Jesus is not making a simple statement of the obvious, but is bestowing an affirmation from a loving and creative God. Jesus is expressing God's faith in our acceptance of God's gift of grace--grace that empowers us to love one other. God's grace alone frees us to serve; it alone brings real joy.
"Let your light so shine," we say, handing the newly baptized or godparent a candle, a miniature pillar of fire. It is the light of Christ--shining before we receive it--that will never be snuffed out. It shines in all the baptized so we may share our bread with the hungry and shelter the homeless poor, undo injustice and restore streets to live in. Others will taste and see goodness and glorify God, from whom comes all spice and scintillation.
Lord God, with endless mercy you receive the prayers of all who call upon you. By your Spirit show us the things we ought to do, and give us the grace and power to do them, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.