There is a phrase in the Gospel for this Sunday (Matthew 5.13-20) that I have been thinking about. “You are salt for the earth.” It could be translated another way... “give up the morons.” That means, we need to let go of the things in our lives and in our faith that make us ineffective or worse causes our walk to be diluted or defective.
Salt is always by its very nature, salt. It never stops being salt. Moreover, salt is meant to do and to be a number of things. It is meant to prevent decay as a preservative. It is mean to protect the purity of what is inhabited. It is there to add flavour to whatever is there so that it is tasty. But here is the thing: we are talking about faith and the Church; all those who call and claim to be Christians. Jesus is calling each and all of us to live out the life of the kingdom in this present age. That is why we are “blessed”. We are to sign the life that is to come in the time of the kingdom of heaven. We are in other words, enabled through God’s blessing and grace, to show what life with God is like and will be like in the kingdom and do so in the here and now. We are called to live a life that is totally transforming by first living it and then over time sharing it.
But in all this, salt and the Church can become diluted and insipid. It can become less than it is. It does not cease to be what it is but it can become less. Diluted and insipid faith in the Church is not the way – there is no light or half version. Jesus calls us to live in the grace and the power that is afforded to us as children of God. We are called to let go of those things that weaken and inhibit our and live with everything that God gives you.
And we are in this moment also light. Light is always light. Lights shine out in the darkness. So who lights a candle and then puts it under a basket. Who lights a lamp and then promptly hides it away? No one I know. Certainly no one who was without power during and after a storm – so why are Christians running and hidding the light within them in our society? There are too many within the Church who seem to have come to believe that being a Christian is a bad thing and that the faith is all that is wrong with the world. That makes us sound like the late Christopher Hitchens, an atheist.
We have come to think in this “enlightened” age that we are the light or at least because we can flip a switch, push a button or turn a dial that we can control light. All we need do is open the fridge door and the darkness retreats from the light. Problem is, the light within a Christian is not his or her own. It is Christ who lives within and it is God’s glory that shines out. Where will you take it, what will you bring to light, both about God and about the people around you?
We need to learn to live a better Christian life than worry about living by the rules and being obedient to what’s been taught. We are called love – as Christ has loved us- those we find around us. We need to live in such a way that we fulfill the law and learn to accept the grace and forgiveness when we fall short. Then we show the full extent of who God in Christ is for the world. Then the good news of God in Christ is made manifest for people to reach out for and to hold on to.
We are tasty and we are lit up. So remember the last beatitudes, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet still believe.” Come live the life and do so in Jesus name!