You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:1316 (English Standard Version).
In our age of conformity one can easily lose sight of who they are. From Madison Avenue to our politician, even to our churches-we’re all called to lose ourselves and be part of the crowd. It’s often the sad case that one does lose oneself to the point they forget who they are. Even sadder is that there are lots and lots of us who don’t know who they are.
As we take our Lenten journey, let’s pause and think of the above passage from Jesus’ sermon in Matthew. We need to remember who we are. We’re not drones buzzing about some giant hive without our own identity…
No, we’re salt and light. Huh? Whaddya’ mean? Well, I’m glad you asked.
First, we’re salt. Jesus calls us to flavor a bland and tasteless world. Our world is quickly devolving into a giant corporate nightmare where the individuality of humanity is being assimilated like Star Trek’s Borg. We’re losing our God-given reason for living; and getting it replaced (or hijacked) by mere existence. Look at the suicides-especially among our youth-when they see life as cheap and worthless. We see the West-especially America-exporting its own branding all over the globe. This-in turn-makes us internally bland. We are not respected for our intrinsic worth and gifts we can contribute, but how much we’re “worth”. We’re not seen as living souls as God see us; rather we’re commodities to be exploited by The Powers That Be. We lose our “living” as we go along with the assimilation, living a soul-killing routine.
We as followers of Jesus need to be that salt-that Divine flavor kick-to bring back the uniqueness we all possess as humans. That God-over the course of millions of years-shaped us and guided us as a species up to this moment. That we are all unique and special-loved by God. That we need to live out our uniqueness as children of God in love so that we can keep our world a human one. Also to remind our fellows that our own lives are special and that live can be lived fully as God intended.
And second, we’re light. God knows there’s darkness in our world: spiritual, political, socioeconomic. We’re dark spiritually as we grope about as we listen to self-help gurus and commercialized televangelists. We never take the time to be alone with the Divine and let Him/Her speak to us. We’re dark politically, where laws that serve the few and punish the many are enacted; while legislation that’s truly needed is ignored. We’re dark socioeconomically as racism, sexism, class warfare, homophobia, and other ills are now accepted as the norm. This makes us dark inside as we have no light, no guidance to be what we’re created to be.
We are to be God’s light in this darkening world. We’re to shine the light of love, justice, peace, and spirit onto those dark places. We’re to let our lights shine in us, likened to a city set on a hill-for all to see. It’s not time for us to hide our lights under our baskets for fear of what others may say. We need to have the spirit of Jesus and shine on as beacons of God’s love to show humanity the better way. Then-in turn-they too can bask in the light, being transformed into light themselves.
And in the end, others will see our good works and glorify our Father (or Mother) which is in Heaven.
For Lent, and for always, if you have any questions about who you are, ponder on Jesus’ words above and remember who you are.
Grace and Peace.