Here again, Jesus asks us to reflect on the power we already have. “You are salt. You are light.” Not, “Do you want to be salt, or do you want to be light?” You already are. So, given that declaration from our Lord, how will we season? What will we light up? Once again, Jesus lays an expectation and blessing on us as we are called to be the church. He implies in this Sermon on the Mount that we don’t really have a choice in the matter. I don’t mean we are forced into something against our will. What I mean, and what I think he meant, was that we are the representatives of the church whether we consciously try to claim that role or not. People, neighbors, friends, and strangers will look at us and think, “Oh, so that is what it means to be a part of the Christian faith” or “That is what belonging to the church means in terms of how you live in the world.”
Given this truth, let us live humbly. That seems the only proper response. Let us live with grace and hospitality and kindness. Yes, we have opinions about how the world ought to be, but how we express them matters. So, let’s celebrate the salty ones in our midst. No, not that. Find the ones who are mentoring, the ones who are supporting and guiding. Start with teachers, but go further— youth leaders, confirmation mentors, new member teams, hospitality hosts; they are probably all around you. Or maybe a week ahead, hand out a card and invite people to tell who has helped them most, who has taught them about the faith, who has walked with them through a difficult time? Then lift up those names, give thanks to those who can remind us that you are the salt of the earth, and you are the light of the world.
Post or display pictures of the community at work together. And then give God thanks for the relationships and mutual support that is found in the fellowship of the church. Sing songs of the guidance and friendship of Jesus as the model and mentor for all of our relationships. The lifting up of the church continues as we seek to see and to be glimpses of the kin-dom.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.