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Sermon: Salt and Light
Text: Isaiah 58:1-9a; Matthew 5:13-16
Rev. Laura Brewster
Read Isaiah 58:1-9a. Key verses: 6 Isn’t this the fast I choose: releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke, setting free the mistreated, and breaking every yoke? 7 Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry and bringing the homeless poor into your house, covering the naked when you see them, and not hiding from your own family?
Read Matthew 5:13-16. Key verses: 13 “You are the salt of the earth… 14 You are the light of the world.
You are Salt. In Jesus’ day, salt was a valuable commodity because it had multiple purposes. By calling us salt, Jesus says we are of value.
You are the Light of the World. In Jesus’ day there weren’t street lights or headlights or security lights on buildings everywhere. So, lamps were an important resource. By referring to us as light, Jesus proclaims we are of value.
We live as salt and light for the benefit of others. That’s right, YOU are salt and light. You are people of value. Jesus makes something else clear too, however. We have a purpose. Jesus says: let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven. We are asked to live as salt and light for a purpose – to point others to God.
Sometimes We Forget. Sometimes we forget that God intends for us to serve as salt and light in order to do his work in the world and make a difference in the world. The contemporaries of the Prophet Isaiah forgot. They engaged in religious activity such as worship and fasting, but they didn’t care for those in need. Hence, they had to be reminded that it was not enough to be heavenly minded; they also needed to be of earthly good.
Sometimes We Minimize Our Potential. Sometimes we appreciate the fact that God can indeed share light in the world through US. We see that capacity in others, but we fail to see it in ourselves. Today’s readings remind us that Jesus has pronounced that you are salt and light too. God has given us both our identity and the capacity to live out our identity in ways that make a difference in our corner of the world.
Summary. There is no such thing as private Christianity. Our faith should be visible. It should be lived out in ways that will be seen, in ways that cannot be hidden. None of this is meant to put ourselves in the spotlight. It’s all meant to help others see our good God. So, go and be who Jesus says you are – salt and light – and make a difference.