You are Salt... You are Light... - Brantford Hospital

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Almighty God, you have promised when two or three are gathered that you are there, May we have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts open to you prompting – Amen

Jesus tells us “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world”

What do you think of when you hear that said? …

What do you think of…? And how does that make you feel?

Now if this was wintertime - when I hear that; I think of all the salt that has been used on the roads and walkways

But then my second response is that; I think that the words wash over me – that they don’t take root

I hear them… – but I don’t really think about them – I think that I disassociate myself from that part of Jesus’ teaching

            Again making an assumption, I think that many of you might have the same experience

Why is that? ….

Why do we hear the bible when it tells stories, but then let Jesus’ claims on us pass by

Here, we have God in the flesh giving us identity… and with that identity we are also given purpose

            Why don’t we connect with that?

                        It is puzzling, don’t you think?

I think that there are numerous reasons why that is the case for myself, and I suspect many of you

Fill in the blanks for yourself if you hear the words of Jesus but don’t let them take root in your heart

Never-the-less Jesus says; “YOU are the salt of the earth… YOU are the light of the world”

            So let’s take some time and get a better understanding of what our Lord has named His students

We today can buy salt in so many ways and get light by simply flicking a switch, that the metaphors have lost some of their importance

In my house alone, we have, of course, table salt used for cooking and flavouring

            We have road salt, we have salt for our water softener

            We even considered getting another salt to replace chlorine to keep our pool sparkling

Our ways of lighting are even more vast and diverse

Beyond the fancy & not so fancy innumerable light fixtures, the things that house the light

There are incandescent light bulbs; fluorescent, halogen, the environmentally friendly CFLs, LEDs and the list goes on and on – not to mention light from the gas fireplace or even the simple light from candles

            Salt and light for us in the modern world is easy

But in biblical times when people were more connected with the elements of the world, Salt and Light carried a much more significant role

People, 2000 years ago did not have refrigerators, so salt was very important to preserve food, they would salt it and dry it out.

In Biblical times, they said that a man’s life was as valuable as a bag of salt and people use it as a measure of trade, people might be paid in salt

But salt was also a symbol of the preservation of life. If you don’t have salt, all you have is decay. You have to have salt to preserve life.

And Jesus said, “YOU are the salt of the earth”

Salt was also important in Biblical times because of war. Wars were fought with essentially arrows and spears and swords and so there was a lot of skin wounds during warfare.

You would rub that salt into the wound… and it was very painful

            Imagine doing that here at this Brantford General hospital

In ancient times you needed the pain, to experience healing. That was part of the way that you treated the wounds.[1]

All cases salt is not an element useful to itself.  Its value comes in its application on other things

And Jesus said, “YOU are the salt of the earth”

Light was equally vital in biblical times

            Without light you were as good as blind at night

Consider our homes today where we have street lights, house lights, cars lights, the glow of the TV or computer, and even the light emitted from a clock radio

Have you ever tried to make your home truly dark – it is a very difficult thing to do

                                                But in Jesus’ day, darkness was a reality which governed their night

                                                            A simple candle light would have lite-up the whole room

At night, before one went to sleep, life was centered around the light of the fire in the courtyard

There, stories would be told, and life would be shared

And Jesus said, “YOU are the light of the world”

It is with these understandings that we approach the gospel lesson for today.

Today’s gospel lesson focuses on light and salt.

         In today’s passage, it describes how we as Christians are to live out lives out in the world.

Not merely the way we are gathered here in this moment in our worship service.

In the text for today, we are invited to live our discipleship out in the world.

In our work. In our neighbourhoods. In our circle of friends. Out there in the world which is often very dark.

Out there in the world which is often not so godly.

In the world, Christians are to be the light of Christ.

Like light the disciples as a gathered community have overarching purpose of being the mirror that refracts God’s light so that all peoples and nations can know of God’s justice and mercy.[2]

You are to be the light of Christ in the world.

Our lives are to be like a beacon, that light on the hill, that shows people the way.

I want to set you today with the task of believing what Jesus declared about each one of you

            YOU are the salt of the earth…. “YOU are the light of the world

The goal is first, is to start looking for God in the world – in others, maybe it is the good treatment from the nurses or doctors here – look around… I am sure you can see people living out God’s will

And second goal is for you to come to believe that YOU are vessels through which God is working

Today is the perfect day to start

And when you do start to see the world as Jesus declares his followers to be, you will be ready to hear or think about God active in mission in the world, by naming and claiming how YOU are vessels of God’s grace and mercy.

“YOU are the salt of the earth…. “YOU are the light of the world. A church built on a hill cannot be hid….let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”


[1] Some of the structure and content was borrowed from -

[2] Feasting on the Word – Volume 1 Year A - page 332

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