When we think about salt and light, what image or use of salt comes to mind? Do you think about bringing out the flavour or seasoning? Or to purify or preserve?
And light? Which light or what function of light? To warn, to guide, to illuminate, to find, to welcome?
You yourselves are the salt of the earth says Jesus in Matthew 5:13-16. You yourselves are the light of the world.
Sometimes our Godly saltiness will enrich the good that is always present and make good things better. Sometimes it will enable the preservation of the good that might otherwise be lost. But sometimes it will sting in the open wounds of the world, a healing sting, but painful nevertheless.
If we lose our saltiness, how will anyone taste godliness? How is anyone going to see beyond the greyness, the hardness, the paralysing conformity of a society that does its best to hide people and push people away or to the fringe and margins?
And so what about light?
Carthel O’Connell, writing on the Cosmos Magazine website says: Light is an electric field tied up with a magnetic field, flying thru space. Two dance partners wrapped up in an eternal embrace. To keep self generating, both electric and magnetic components need to stay in step: takes two to tango!
Natural light (as opposed to flicking a switch in a lamp) is fire – be it candle or the sun. To make fire, there needs to be friction or a surface that generates friction, a movement, a reaction and spark. There needs to be ignition.
For us to be light, there needs to be a spark, there needs to be friction, we need to rub up against something – an action of reaction.
It is our calling as Christ followers, to be alight – not just ‘a’ light but alight, aflame, sparking flaming.
So how do we be the light of Christ in our world?
Find a point of friction, find your flint. It could be involvement in social politics, it maybe your workplace, caring. A place of friction could also be a place of love, justice, of hope or pain, worry, help.
A place of friction could be simply where you rub shoulders with others – that place where you may find ignition. The place where Christ’s light of love and compassion is passed on to another – to share the light of Christ in the world.
Our lights grow dim, or remain unlit, if we do not mourn the hurts of the world, if we are not humble, merciful and pure of heart, if we do not hunger and thirst for justice and strive for peace.
How will anyone see beyond the curtain or shadows of competitiveness, self interested culture? Or a society that continues to grow without the knowledge or life transforming experience of the grace and good news of Jesus Christ.
We, we ourselves are called to mix and shine and speak into culture, into society, in our workplace, school, sport, entertainment, politics, shopping, over the back fence and in our own families. If the world is not to be left in darkness, the disciples, the church, the body of Christ must fulfil their calling.
Hear again what Jesus said to his followers, and take heart: You are the light of the world. You are. You are now!