February 2, 2023:  Salt, Light, and Grace

Reading 

“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. “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.

 

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 5:13-20)

 

Reflection

This is probably familiar Gospel text to you.  Verse 16, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” is a particular favorite of mine.  In fact, I have a plaque with those words in my office.

 

When I read this lesson today, I saw three key themes, which I think will play out over this next week as we look at Sunday’s scripture readings.  The first is this idea of salt.  We, as Christians, are the salt of the earth.  We have a lot to contribute to the world to spice it up.  Even though at times we may think we are flourishing when it comes to our Christian witness, we need to be strong and have faith in God.

 

We also are the light of the world.  In a world where there is much darkness, the good news of Jesus that we can share can brighten the darkest of places.  Even if the light is small, it will still be a beacon to those in the shadows of existence.

 

And we are grace-filled people.  When Jesus talks in this story, he reminds us that he came to fulfill the law.  He reminds us that there is both law and gospel.  He is the good news.  He is the unconditional love that we should exemplify today.

 

So, this week as we look ahead to our Sunday lectionary readings, remember these three words:  Salt, Light, and Grace.  All three come up in the verses you will hear read on Sunday.

 

–Chad Hershberger

 

Prayer   

Help us to be who you want us to be, God.  Guide us with your light so we may spread your love and grace to others and be the salt of this world.  Amen.