Here's my sermon before I preach it, so I suppose eye-rolling could happen tomorrow. But, for now here it goes. I'm also going to be dorky and give everyone a little bag that will have some salt and a candle in it. Hopefully they'll keep it in their pockets to remind themselves of who they are!
Okay—fill in the blank. God said “let there be light and there was ¬¬¬¬______." God said “let us make humankind in our own image and ¬¬______ was created.” Jesus said, “I say to you little girl rise up” and the little girl did what? Jesus commands “take up your mat and walk” and the man takes up his mat and what? Good…so if we use Scripture as our guide, God speaks and things happen. The Word of God actually does what it says…God says merely a word and humans are created, trees fill the landscape, dead people rise, the world changes.
And today, what word does Jesus speak to all his disciples—to all those who follow him. “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.” Not you ought to be more like salt; not if you served more people and did more nice things you would be light. But, simply, definitively, unequivocally, You are salt; You are light. God speaks, and the world changes. God speaks and you are exactly what God says you are.
God does not want you worrying about what you are not—about the gifts you do not have. God doesn’t want you to change who you—to become something you are not. But, simply to live as the lighted, salty ones that you are. And actually when you dig a little deeper into this metaphor you begin to realize how truly remarkable these seemingly ordinary things are.
We tend to take light for granted—I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever been in pure darkness—that oppressive darkness where you can’t see your hand in front of your face. I’ve heard that exploring the depths of caves is like that. The further underground you go, the more the darkness swallows up any sense of direction—you’re unable to make out the shapes of the people around you, the walls close in until you become alone in the deepness, in the darkness. Until someone strikes one small match… slowly you begin to see and the worlds takes form again. One small match breaks brings the darkness to an end. One light. You are light.
And salt—eat popcorn without that stuff or make a batch of cookies without it and you realize how those tiny little crystals make the whole world better. I even put it on my carrots—a wonderful trait I inherited from my mama. But, you know what else salt does—I love this part. In Jesus’ day, in the middle of the small dwelling places was kind a kitchen-type thing. There was this stove and next to the stove, a dung heap—literally the waste of their animals piled high in the kitchen. And salt was used to cover this mess so that it would burn. The pile of dung in the kitchen became the fuel for their fire which cooked the food that they ate. And none of this would be possible without the salt. Salt changes the horrible stuff to quite useful stuff—makes your food taste better. You are salt.
You are salt. You are light. Can you imagine living as such? Can you imagine yourself sitting at your desk or in your living room or waiting for the doctor—you know those feelings—boredom or frustration, inadequacy or sadness, apprehension or pain—and somehow you remember that God’s word actually does what God says. And you are light. You presence breaks through the darkness; your life adds flavor to the world. Your simply being who you were created to be, turns dung piles into fuel, and bland popcorn into a feast. I wonder if remembering that might make you see the world a little differently; might make you see your neighbor a little differently. Might make you use the gifts that you’ve been given to change the world.
One of the blogs that I follow has issued a challenge—for us to spend the next week paying attention to where we live into our saltiness and lightedness—for us to remember who we are and to name it. I know it’s much easier to see where other people are salty and lighty—to lift up the wonders of each other. And I want to hear those stories too. But, pay attention this week to where you let your light shine and your salt season. Pay attention to where you illuminated the darkness and where you make some carrots (or a dung pile) taste a whole lot better.
And before you start to get all humble on me—remember that you didn’t light your own candle—you didn’t season your own salt. They ignited through the waters that soaked you in your baptism. Remember God’s Word again—you are my child…the whole speaking and creating and world changing world. Well when God spoke, you were showered with blessings—with love, with grace, with wholeness—with light and sprinkled with a bit of salt.
So, go into the world salty, lighted ones. Go into the world and be who you were spoken to be. God said it—it makes it so…So, Go into the world and season it with wild abandon.