Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sermon on the Mount 2: Salt & Light

Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16

Focus: “Trampled”

Reflection: For some reason wit this passage in the Sermon on the Mount, I have had to get over the idea that this passage was some sort of justification for showing off. Here is it, Jesus says we have to demonstrate our greatness in front of other people. We have to show off. Or worse yet, this is the passage that says that Christians are better than others. Furthermore, there is punishment for not being better than everyone else.

Only through a distorted lens could I ever come to such a conclusion. The Christian life is not meant to prove to everyone, especially non-Christians, that Christians are better than everyone else. It is not a lesson plan for a spiritual superiority complex, though that has been taught that in various places. It is something much more humble than that.

Salt makes the thing that already exists taste better. Salt on its own isn’t all that great. Jesus is saying that God placed within each person the ability to highlight the good that already exists. Christians can make things better by being a presence of goodness, civility, kindness, and hope.

Trampled is the word that comes to mind in this passage. Is trampled a punishment? Well, not really. It is simply the natural result of a thing not fulfilling its purpose. If a thing has lost its function out of lack of use, then it will not have any attention paid to it. It will be moved to the margins because other, more useful, things will get the attention of people. The rusty hacksaw I have in the garage just gets left in the garage because the sharp one is the one I choose every time. I am not mad at the rusty one and I am not punishing it. I might even choose it in a pinch, but it is not my go to tool for cutting things. 

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