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January 22

Matthew 5, 13

Something to read

You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

So much to challenge us in such a few words!

Jesus here manages to put into acute perspective all that we would do and be as Christians on our own and together within congregations. He lays out for us a test of faithfulness that remains as powerful as when he first spoke it.

The test is this: change the world. Do that for God and you are living faithfully. Fail to do that and you are living a lie and have no use. Stark and hard words these.

Being compared to salt teaches us something about the nature of the change we are to make. The point seems to be that we are to change things without drawing great attention to ourselves. The salt mixed into the dish can't be seen at all. But its effects are obvious; suddenly there is an enhanced flavour and more to savour.

Jesus offers us a picture not of the power and glory of Christian discipleship, nor of the prestigious place of the Church in society. Instead he gives us a picture of something invisible that transforms and enhances the life of the world.

So the test is put to us. How do we, how do I, flavour the world around? In what ways does my presence in all the minute details of my living, in all the myriad encounters, add a flavour that is godly and positive?

For these words come at the end of the blessings that begin the Sermon on the Mount through which Jesus summarises what it means to enter into the life of the realm of God. So the saltiness called for here is not just goodness or kindness, but the goodness and kindness that become possible when our lives are lived with God.

And, when living with God becomes only theory or words divorced from lived reality, the salt no longer enriches. If we have ears to hear, then we need to hear this verse!

Something to do

When you get to the end of today, give yourself some space and time to sit with this verse with God. Play the day over in your mind. Where were you God's salt? Rejoice in those moments. But notice where you were not salt. What will you do differently tomorrow as a result of paying such attention?

Something to pray

In the transformation of all creation you invite us to share and play our part, Lord. Give us wisdom to see where and when and how. Give us courage to be salt.

Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge

 

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