Salt and Light by Pastor Jeff Gaustad
“You are the salt of the earth…” “You are the light of the world…” That’s what Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount. Jesus isn’t speaking in some general way to some general crowd. Jesus is talking to the twelve, and these days, he’s speaking to those of us who have answered his call to follow, who live our lives trusting him, who let what he taught shape our relationships with all our neighbors, whether they are like us or not, whether they live next door or across some distant sea.
“You are salt… you are light…” Jesus isn’t telling us to be salt and light, he’s telling us that we already are salt and light. Right now, today, in this country divided by political opinions and anxious over changes that have taken place or that we fear will take place, there’s a dramatic need for your salt and light—for the flavor of Christ in you and me to make a difference. It matters how you and I treat our neighbor (and here I would remind us of the lawyer who tried to weasel out of a responsible relationship with his neighbor by asking Jesus the question ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus answers him with the parable of the Good Samaritan—a story that turns the lawyer’s question on its ear as an enemy of this lawyer risks his life and a small fortune to care for a Jewish stranger. The Samaritan becomes the story’s hero.)
“You are salt… you are light…” As Jesus’ disciples, we cannot turn our backs on our neighbors, no matter who they are. The immigration policies that are at the center of today’s political tensions cannot be simplistically answered with a black and white ban. Living out the ethics of Jesus must lead us to the care of our neighbors that extends far beyond our own self-interests or comfort-zone. To not care is to turn our backs on who and what Christ Jesus has called us to be: Gospel—good news for all people!