Matthew 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)

Last week I mentioned that we were going to be heading into Jesus’ great sermon; the sermon on the mount. In it, we are going to get lots of Jesus telling us pretty straightforward, “this is how you should be living, and this is why”. And it’s going to be great for the flames. We will skip around a bit and pick up on the highlights, but it seemed we couldn’t get a better start than the passage today.

Flamers; Jesus says you are the salt of the earth. What does that mean? Well often two things are attributed to what it means ‘to be salt’. People either talk about salt being used as a spice; a taste element, or as a preservative. I don’t think we can know which one was intended, but I think both are helpful and work together. Used as a spice, salt adds it’s flavour to the food and has a distinct character. You can recognise the taste of salt. Taste helps shape the meal it is added to. If we are called to be salt, and therefore to have a distinct taste, what is that flavour supposed to be? Well that’s where the preservative can be helpful I think. Salt was used to cure and preserve food at the time of Jesus’ ministry. We likewise, I think, as christians are called to ‘preserve’ God’s work in the world; his love to us in Jesus’ ministry and death on the cross. We are to read and meditate on God’s word, in order that our thoughts and actions might remind people of God’s grace grace to us, point them towards it and give glory to him because of us. We are to preserve the ministry of Christ; to keep it going. To be God’s representatives of him in this world.

The other thing to say about salt, is that it can’t help but be salty. And if it loses its salt, it’s not really salt – it is useless. This is kind of the idea we are presented with when we are told to be the light of the world. If a light is covered up, it has no point to its existence. It’s one job is to give light so that people can see; that’s why it’s called a light. Flamers; Jesus calls you to be the light of the world and to let your light shine before others. What about us shines? Our good deeds. What do they illuminate? The glory of our Father in heaven. These deeds I think can be pretty helpfully summarised by the second command that Jesus gives later on in Matthew; “Love your neighbour as yourselves”. We will explore this command and why it is light to the world next week. But for now, what do we take away? Flames 101 stuff. We are to love our team mates and the people we are playing against. In these relationships, the brief ones on the field, the day to day ones with each other, we are to show “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

The challenges?
– Are you salt of the earth to the people you interact with? Not even necessarily the big interactions; the traffic rage, the local barista or the painful opposition striker.
Do you think the Flames do this individually and as a club? What do you think are the genuine reasons behind it?
Are the Flames different in the way this passage talks about?

 

Joe Hockey, club chaplain

first published 19-5-2018