You are the salt of the earth. This is what and who you are. Too often, we’re afraid that we’re not salty enough, we need to do more, prepare more, expect more, and when we focus on that, we’re essentially making this all about ourselves instead of Jesus. Whatever Jesus actually had in mind when he said “you are the salt of the earth” we know that salt as an element has no value to itself. It’s not about making salt better salt. The value of salt is in its application to other things - to other people. Jesus calls us salt because we who claim to believe in and follow Jesus are meant to make life better for others, not harder. We are called to enhance life for others not make it bitter for them. We are to preserve life for others not stifle, destroy or defeat who they are.
What do righteous people look like? They look like light - flashlights, lamplight, candlelight, spotlights, floodlights, and more. It is who we are as individuals but more so as a body of believers. “We all shine like the stars but together we blaze like the sun.”
Like salt, light does not exist for its own benefit, but for the benefit of everything and everyone it illuminates. Light provides warmth, energy, and security in the darkness around us. Light encourages life and growth. That is what we are to do as followers of Jesus. Our righteousness as followers of Jesus is about doing whatever we can to be lights to each other and to the world; the people, situations, events, circumstances and moments around us. We are to be open and honest instead of hiding in the dark. We are to offer other people warmth and encouragement instead of being cold, disconnected, and discouraging. We are to light the way not dictate the way.
It doesn’t mean we turn our backs on the religious law, traditions, or turn our back on our religious heritage and God’s law. It does mean we ask ourselves what is the purpose of God's law - what is the essence of those laws, traditions, and heritage? Is it to demoralize, judge, and marginalize others or is it to establish community, order and fellowship in a safe and meaningful way? Is it to be judge and jury - criticizing and convicting? Or does it mean we are to love mercy, show kindness, and walk humbly with God? As followers, we are to revere the laws of Moses and religious traditions,, but more importantly, and what Jesus was trying to say and model, is we are to recognize and live out the principles embedded within it.
The power of the season of Lent is that it challenges us to reflect on our identity - as individuals and as a church. Like Jesus establishing, owning, and proclaiming his identity in the desert, we too must come to understand at our deepest level who we are and why we are here. I pray God’s Holy Spirit will continue to show us the answer.
Pastor Jenothy Irvine