Consider for a moment—what does it mean to be the salt of the earth? the light of the world? Is there anything more vital to the life of the earth and its people? And Jesus tells us that we are both! The vessel for delivering the salt and the light IS US! We are obliged to lighten the world and take Jesus’ light into the world. And what does salt do? It tenderizes tough meat, when you’re cooking. Then it seems that, as salt, we bring tenderness and curing to a hurting world. Yes, we bring the love. So, I want to be the light. I want to be salt. In a wonderful hymn, we sing “I want to walk as a child of the light!” At the end of one arrangement of this song, everyone who has been singing shouts “SHINE!” Let’s all do that: SHINE!
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Jesus said, “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.
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, 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 in heaven.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For 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. Therefore, 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. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
sermons4kids: “When we invite Jesus into our heart, we have Jesus’ power. When we come to church to worship and praise Him and study His Word, we get turned on for Jesus. When we are plugged in and turned on, our light will shine.”
Collect: Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: [on Corinthians] What does it mean to have the mind of Christ, and how do I live with the mind of Christ in my daily activities? If I let my light shine, what will others see in me? Will others see Jesus? Will they give glory to God?
Practice: Shine your light!
Saint Focus: You are encouraged to read the interesting story of The Martyrs of Japan (link below) but for this week, consider Fanny Crosby. She is considered one of the most (if not “the most”) prolific Christian song writers. And she was blind. For many in the Episcopal church, she is less-well-known. She has a mega-reputation in the Methodist Church. The best-known of her hymns is “Blessed Assurance”, words from which are included on her tombstone. Read more at the link below [from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were :
- 4; Manche Masemola, Martyr, 1928; AND Cornelius the Centurion
- 5; Agatha of Sicily, Martyr, c.251; AND Roger Williams, 1683, and Anne Hutchinson, 1643, Prophetic Witnesses
- 6; The Martyrs of Japan, 1597
- 8; Bakhita (Josephine Margaret Bakhita), Monastic & Prophetic Witness, 1947
- 10; Scholastica, Monastic, 543
- 11; Theodora, Empress, c.867; AND Frances Jane (Fanny) Van Alstyne Crosby, Hymnwriter, 1915
- 12; Charles Freer Andrews, Priest, 1940
Movies/Videos: “Beasts of the southern wild” (2012), perseverence; “Conversations with God” (2006), homeless man becomes spiritual messenger; “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017), the hero gains little; the community gains.
image photo of a salt mound (40′ high) from the island of Inagua in the Bahamas
For this week, consider how you might be the salt or the light. What specifically might you do that will make life easier for someone in distress? What specifically might you do to lighten the burden of another? What specifically might you do that brightens the world around you and others. Excerpted from Lesson Plans that Work.
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Today and for the next several Sundays, we hear portions of Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount. This continues the theme of Epiphany, the showing forth of Jesus as the Son of God. Note also that the way of living which he teaches enables those who follow his teaching to themselves be “epiphanies” of God’s presence in the world.
Isaiah warns us that living rightly does not depend on carrying out religious devotions such as fasting. He is speaking in a time when the people were careful to fast but ignored God’s call to live at peace with each other and to care for the poor and helpless. Religious devotions that are merely outward show do not enable us to be right with God.
In seeking to speak to the divisions in the Corinthian church, Paul takes on those who are proud of having special and private knowledge about God, believing their “wisdom” sets them apart from other church members. However, Paul announces that God’s wisdom is far greater than human wisdom and that God’s wisdom is “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Jesus’ Epiphany is fulfilled in our own time in Word and Sacraments and in the lives of those who through baptism have been made part of his body the church. In the liturgy, our part in making Jesus known to all people is initiated in the Eucharistic feast and fulfilled as we are sent into the world in his name to care for the helpless and to be instruments of God’s peace and reconciliation.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.