13”You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16, NIV)
Godspell is a popular musical about the life of Christ. It is a musical comedy that came to life as a masters’ thesis: John-Michael Tebelak, the author of the original libretto, was studying drama at Carnegie-Mellon University, and at least one story has it that he wrote the entire original version in two weeks! Some of the lyrics were taken from the Episcopal hymnal and others penned by Broadway songwriter Stephen Schwartz. It became a hit and has a long history of being performed by colleges and church groups. The first act of the show ends with a rollicking song drawn from the above verses in the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus instructs His followers: “You are the light of the world!/ (You are the light of the world!) But if that light is under a bushel / It's lost something kind of crucial / You got to stay bright to be the light of the world. / You are the salt of the earth (You are the salt of the earth) / But if that salt has lost its flavor, it ain't got much in its favor / You can't have that fault and be the salt of the earth!”
This weekend, we celebrate our church anniversary and we give thanks to God for all that He has done for us and through us in the past 32 years. But we also look forward to what He desires for us to do as we continue to grow together as FECC. The prophet Isaiah reminds us of the kind of worship and devotion God wants. Fasting and outward devotions and shows of humility are not good enough, God says, if they aren’t lived out in our daily lives, in our work and in our encounters with those in need (see Isaiah 58:6-9a).
Jesus, who would have known Isaiah’s words well as a Torah-observant Jew, doesn’t let us off the hook, either. The Sermon on the Mount, as a whole, commissions us to live out our life of discipleship in the world of human relationships and activities. This passage in particular, which directly follows the Beatitudes, is no exception. We are to show God’s light and love just as if we were a candle on a stand shining all over the place. We are to be the peacemakers, the meek, the merciful, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. When we are found in a place, our exercise of those virtues should be just like salt; we should change the flavor of the whole dish.
So, as we give God thanks for our church anniversary, let us continue to seek out places to let our light shine in worship to God and let our salt flavor the world around us in service of those whom Christ died to save. After all, “you gotta stay bright to be the light of the world.” How have you been letting your light shine recently? How has your salt been flavoring the lives of those with whom you come in contact?
Ask the Lord to lead you so that you may let your light shine in the days to come. Make a commitment to let your light shine and your salt flavor the life of someone on a daily basis. That would be the kind of worship the Lord desires, according to Isaiah.