A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Salt and Light: Making a Difference

Salt and Light: Making a Difference

Isaiah 58:1-9a: The people complain because God does not seem to notice when they fast and pray, but Isaiah speaks God’s word that challenges them on their injustice and exploitation – that they have the outward appearance of penitence but their hearts have not been transformed.

1 Corinthians 2:1-13: God’s wisdom is Christ crucified, which cannot be understood without opening our spirits to God’s Spirit. For we who have received God’s Spirit, we are able to know and receive the wonderful blessing God offers us in Christ.

Matthew 5:13-20: Jesus calls his followers to be as salt and light in the world – allowing our good works to be seen in order that others may praise God. Jesus calls his followers to true righteousness, beyond the outward shows and external legalism of the Pharisees, but embodying the true spirit of the law.

 As we heard from the Beatitudes last week, a disciple isn’t someone who does good in order to please God and others. Rather, it is someone whose generosity springs naturally and spontaneously from a heart that has been transformed by God’s supernatural grace. It is the motive behind the action that matters. We can’t make ourselves pure by obeying laws and rules, no matter how hard we try. 

The only thing that exceeds ‘right-doing’ is ‘right-being’. And it is this work of inner transformation that Christ has begun within those who surrender to his call. Only when we give ourselves completely to Jesus can we become salt and light by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

salt

Sources: 

Chambers, Oswald; My Utmost For His Highest, Barber: Uhrichsville, 1963

Van de Laar, John, http://sacredise.com/lectionary/2014/01/epiphany-5a-2/#more-308

Isaiah 58: 1-9a    1Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins.  2 Yet day after day they seek me    and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practised righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgements, they delight to draw near to God.  3 ‘Why do we fast, but you do not see?    Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?’ Look, you serve your own interest on your fast-day, and oppress all your workers.  4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.  5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? 6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?  7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?  8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.  9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer.

1 Corinthians 2:1-13      1When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.  6 Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’— 10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.

Matthew 5:13-20   Salt and Light

13 ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.     17 ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.