Meditation: Jesus used ordinary images, such as salt and light, to convey extraordinary truths that transform our minds, hearts, and lives. What does salt and light have to teach us about God and the transforming power of his kingdom? Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient world. People traded with it, like we trade with valuable goods, such as gold and stock. Salt also served a very useful purpose, especially in warmer climates before the invention of electricity and refrigeration. Salt not only gave rich flavor to food, it also preserved food from going bad and being spoiled.
God's power at work within us purifies and enriches our lives
Jesus used the image of salt to describe the transforming effect of God's work in our lives - and how the Holy Spirit wants to work in and through us to bring the power and blessing of God's kingdom to others. As salt purifies, preserves, and produces rich flavor for our daily food, we, too, as disciples of Jesus, are "salt" for the world of human society. The Lord wants to work in and through us to purify, preserve, and spread the rich flavor of God's kingdom everywhere - his "kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).
Don't lose your saltiness
What did Jesus mean by the expression "if salt has lost its taste... it is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot" (Matthew 5:13)? Salt in the ancient world was often put into ovens to intensify the heat. When the salt was burned off and no longer useful it was thrown out on the ground where it would get stepped on and swept away (Matthew 5:13).
How can we lose our "saltiness" - the power of God's rich grace and
strength at work in us? If we allow the world (which is opposed to
God's truth and moral goodness), and sinful habits, and Satan's lies
and deception to corrupt our minds and hearts, then we will lose the
rich flavor and strength of God which preserves us from moral and
spiritual corruption. The Lord wants us to preserve and enrich our
"saltiness" - through Godly living and the rejection of sin - not only
for our own sake but also for the sake of others who will be impacted
by our witness and behavior.
Paul the Apostle reminds us that we are called to be "the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life" (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 ). Do you allow the fragrance of Christ's love, truth, and holiness to permeate every area of your life, your thoughts, words, actions, and relationships?
Let the light of Christ shine brightly in and through you for
all to see
Jesus used the image of light and a lamp to further his illustration of God's transforming work in and through us. Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jews also understood "light" as symbol or expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. In his light we see light ( Psalm 36:9). His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105). God's grace not only dispels the darkness in our lives, it also fills us with the light of Christ's truth, wisdom, joy, and peace.
Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illuminates the darkness and enables one to see cleary, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God's kingdom (Ephesians 5:13-14). Our mission is to be light-bearers of Jesus Christ so that others may see the truth of the Gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.
There is great freedom and joy for those who live in the light of God's truth and goodness. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God's light?
"Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed".
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/