Message Supplement for Sunday 9 February 2020: “Salt & Light Spirituality”

Today’s message combines readings from Matthew 5:13-20 and 1 Corinthians 2:1-16. The great themes are the wisdom of God’s Spirit and how Christians are symbolically salt and light.

In Corinthians, Paul talks about a special type of wisdom, what he calls a “secret and hidden” version demonstrated by spiritually mature persons (1 Corinthians 2:6-7). The wisdom of which Paul speaks comes from God’s spiritual essence and is not the same as mere intellectual knowledge. Spiritual wisdom comes from inspiration and illumination by God’s spirit.

Some people are put-off by Paul’s tone because they perceive some sort of religious elitism in his mention of spiritual maturity. After all, to think that there are both spiritually mature and immature people in church can create tension. But consider how people display a range of abilities regarding their emotional and physical maturity. It’s no surprise then that even in spiritual matters people vary in their understanding.

No matter how new you are to a life of faith, don’t get frustrated and turn away just because other people seem to be further along in their spiritual journey. Every person is unique, and no one can take your place inasmuch as you are a precious child of the Almighty. Don’t become discouraged because all maturing Christians can benefit from life-long growth. As you face difficulties you can meet them all with a triumphal attitude. There’s nothing wrong with meeting hurdles because if you don’t have something toward which you are striving then you won’t build your spiritual muscles; resistance builds strength!

Embracing redemption is the pivotal beginning of your spiritual awakening. You are empowered by an unstoppable desire that God honors by never abandoning you. Knowing these truths and claiming God’s promises boosts your spiritual maturity. You are set free from being crushed by the world as you realize that disappointments and inconveniences are invitations to grow stronger. You may not have all the answers but spiritual maturity focuses more on understanding how to receive and share God’s love than on solving the mysteries of the universe.

Now consider Matthew 5:13-20, insightful verses to help you grow wiser and more mature. Jesus stated that his followers are both “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). As with much of what Jesus said, the truth is more symbolic than literal. After all, it’s not likely that someone would want to be turned into a salt pillar or a light pole. The point is that when you consider yourself salt and light you are using words of everyday reality to extend metaphorical meaning to the spiritual world. Jesus declared that salt and light must be shared as valuable commodities through outreach, the proclamation of Jesus’ core message of love.

Salt is versatile. Not just for making the soup taste better, salt is also used for preserving food that would rot more quickly without it. Meat can be packed in salt brine and transported to help curtail spoiling. In ancient times, this was a major method of food preservation. And as anyone knows who has had salt put in a wound, it stings!  What it means for God’s followers to become salt is that you can help people live a better life. Salt makes food taste better just as virtual salt adds seasoning to life. Sharing your salt means that you’ll be providing a crucial spiritual ingredient that helps people travel life’s roads with palatable, nourishing soul food.

Light overcomes darkness, which is a lack of spiritual life. Letting your light shine means that you’re living in a way that demonstrates God’s love and truth. You are therefore invited to radiate your spiritual light into the world unashamed as you shine everywhere. Imagine a lighthouse with a mighty, huge lens that focuses and shines a life-saving beacon over treacherous waters. Similarly, people of faith illuminate a life-giving beam toward those who do not see the rocky shoals threatening to capsize their life.

You are God’s salt and light in the world. As you become spiritually mature you’ll help people both season and illuminate reality. You’ll also help people follow the safe harbor of God’s radiant, righteous path. As you faith grows the salt of your witness will become saltier and your insightful beam will shine brighter. Before you know it, you’ll be helping other people become spiritually mature even as you continue growing closer to the Almighty.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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