“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.” (Matthew 5:13)

Our household lately has been cutting down on sodium laden items. It has been a surprise to us how many things contain so much salt! It makes it easy to understand why salt used to be used as currency – it was so used often but when there was a limited supply it became valuable. There is an expression that “someone is worth their salt”! Meaning they are valuable and deserving of being paid well. So when Jesus said if salt loses its saltiness, it means that any value it had is gone. I am not sure how salt can lose its saltiness, however. Is that possible? As for being trampled under foot, think about salt that is sprinkled on ice/snow, and how undesirable it is!

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Verses 14 – 16)

You realize that I have the song from “Godspell” rolling around in my brain now. Do you, beloved reader? I was just entering my teen years when “Godspell” came out. It was quite revolutionary for my moderately conservative home church. But the songs were riveting, and presented the scripture from Matthew in a way that I have never thought of before. And it also presented the persona of Jesus in a way I had never considered before.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” (Verses 17 – 18)

If you think too hard, beloved reader, that Jesus came to fulfill the law, you will be lead to consider all the nuances and interpretations of the law that the Jews placed themselves under. Remember Jesus said all of the laws pivot on this one absolute – Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind and strength, & love your neighbor as your self. The exhortations of the prophets were to be caring to those around you, supporting them and encouraging them & following the Lord God faithfully. This is what Jesus came to fulfill.

“Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Verses 19 – 20)

We are told, as Christians, not to be lead astray by the agenda and priorities of the “world”. But consider this; if we allow the wrong deeds of the “world” to cause us to judge others, disregard others, and/or do hurt or harm against others – we have gone astray, just as the scribes and Pharisees went astray. This is one aspect of my promoting a gentle, compassionate, merciful belief system.

We do not learn how to follow Jesus from what “secular society” teaches. But we do learn how to resist sin by learning how to be in but not of society. Let me explain that, because it is an “Anabaptist thing.” We have to live in this world – whether you see the world as “good” or “bad”, we have to live in this world. But we are not to live our lives to please the world or gain what the world has to offer. We are to conduct ourselves as a living example of what Jesus taught. “Salty” because we are distinctive in our caring and loving ways. A “light” that shines and shows the way to the Divine. And showing why we do “good works”, that it is the Lord God in heaven that is directing our lives here on earth.

The last scene in “Godspell” is the followers of Jesus going out into the world to spread the messages that Jesus taught them. It is a powerful moment that turns the musical from silly songs and antics into solid preaching. They literally carried Jesus out into the world, and with him the lessons he taught them. I think that was what moved me the most in that musical.

May you, beloved reader, see all the wrongs in our society, and what happens as a consequence. But may you also see all the good and caring things in society. May the Divine empower and embolden you work against the wrong, and promote & nurture the compassion and caring elements that you find. Selah!