For Sunday, February 5, 2017 – Matthew 5:13-20
We lose ourselves in striving to become people we imagine to be the right kind of people, pleasing to God, rather than simply being who we are. We strive after what might not be ours to do rather than submitting humbly to God’s tasks each day, as hidden and small as they might be. Jesus seeks to show us the way to a life that is not about striving but is easier, lighter, more joyful and free.
Rather than chastising his followers for failing to achieve a certain status among the religiously devoted, Jesus says they already ARE what God made them to be. “You are the salt of the earth,” he says. “You are the light of the world.” Right now, before we change the world, before we accomplish greatness, the very essence of who we are is serving a purpose. We are, in our core, adding flavor to life. We have been created, like salt, both to preserve what needs to be preserved and to corrode and melt what needs to be changed.
We are not on our way toward brightness. We are, right now, light—not only for our own little lives, but light for others, set on a lamp stand, lighting the entire house. Together our lights are like a city shining on a hill by which every tired wanderer can find her way home. As we accept and live daily in the truth of who we are, we are able to do the kinds of good works that matter, that heal both giver and receiver. We will not worry and work so hard at doing what we think we must, as so many of our inner village scribes and Pharisees seem to do, but we will do what we are more suited for doing. We will breathe in mercy and breathe out justice, breathe in love and breathe out peace.
To be who we really are is to live more and more in the essence of who Jesus really is. To be salt and light is to be mercy and justice, to stand up and reach out, without fear, wherever we are needed. It is to be the oxygen of hope that assures the world the holy one is among us, transforming and renewing. How? Just by making us more ourselves, living our true nature.