Sunday 9 February 2014

Epiphany 5, Matthew 5:13-20, Salt and Light

Salt is essential for life but too much is dangerous and can kill us. 
So the amount of salt we have as flavouring is a delicate balance, like life. 
Without salt our life is dull, too much and it will kill us. its like anything in life, 
its that delicate mix that gives life its variety, its enjoyment. Salt is also purifying. 

We are to be like salt, like yeast, not too much for people, 
just that delicate flavouring that keeps life tasty, wholesome and society. Its quite a challenge! 
Salt is also a preservative, preserving for times of need, dark times, cold times, winter times. 
So we are exhorted to "have salt" possibly encouraging us to have wisdom, purity, graciousness, which promote peace (and good relationships).

"Take care to maintain in ourselves that which is the saltness of life, namely the gospel, the word of God".

Salt is indeed a very useful flavouring,preserver,purifyer.
If we lose our saltiness we become tasteless and without flavour.
Jesus is implying a profound connection between our outer behaviour and harmony internally and societally.

The same is of course true of light.
Jesus is expanding on the Jewish law to give it life. 
its not just a series of rituals and those who break the law and cause others to stumble have the harshest of judgements!

The passage follows on from the "new law" Jesus has given in the Sermon on the Mount. The salt and the light are results of keeping the Beattitudes. Neither are in your face. 
Salt needs to be good salt, earthy salt, rock salt? Light needs oxygen, the Spirit to keep it alight. The new law of Jesus leads us to "good"works that flow from that lifestyle helping us to be salt and light in the corner of the world that we are placed and producing as it were as a result justice and righteousness hesed and sedek in the Hebrew.



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