Sunday, December 18, 2011

Love All 1 - Matthew 5:13-16

Matthew 5:13-16

The phrases "salt of the earth" and "don't hide your light under a bushel basket" are commonly used phrases in the English vernacular that came from this passage of Scripture. We might be inured to their meaning because they have been used so often but the message behind them is very important.

In the time of Jesus, salt and light were two very precious things. Light came from oil lamps, and oil was not to be squandered. Salt used to be such a precious commodity that Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in it instead of in coin.

When Jesus is talking about Christians being the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world", this is a big deal. Food without salt is bland and in the time of Jesus, more often than not, rotten. Our world without light is a dark and frightening place.

Jesus is trying to say that the world needs His disciples. Christians help to make Earth a better place IF we live our lives the way Jesus taught us to live. If we are the people who Jesus calls us to be, we can make a tremendous difference in this world, just as salt makes a tremendous difference in our food and light makes a tremendous difference in the darkness.

Just like salt and light spread to flavor and illuminate the whole, rather than the part, we are called to share God's love with everyone - not just those whom we like.

This is the last week of Advent. It is the last week we have to prepare for the coming celebration of the birth of Christ. My challenge to each of us this week is to share the love of Jesus with someone we find unlovely. That might mean getting coffee for a co-worker you don't like. It might mean having loving kindness for a family member who is causing you aggravation. It might mean treating the person on the corner of the intersection with dignity by looking them in the eye as you drive by - even if you don't give them anything.

Whatever it is, find a way each day to show love to someone in some way that is not easy for you.

Heavenly Father, help us to love others as you love us. Remind us that without the cover of your grace and mercy we are as unlovely to you, as others sometimes are to us. Give us an measure of your grace and mercy as we strive to be the salt and light of this world for you. Amen.