Do you prefer sweet or savoury and, if you had to choose, would it be a bar of chocolate or a packet of crisps, a crème brule or platter of cheese? The truth is that I like both as do many, but if I had to choose, it would have to be the packet of crisps (plain) and cheese (ripe camembert)!
These days at 54, I am trying to watch what I eat a bit more closely and overall I think I am eating healthily (less meat and more vegetables) but I am sure you will agree that life would very boring without that ‘little something’ perhaps once a day, or at least a few times a week because something salty or sweet is enjoyable and adds flavour to life. After all what is life if we can’t enjoy something sweet or savoury?!
In Jesus’ teaching, he used everyday things to communicate what is important in life and one of the most important things he taught in his sermon on the mount, is that we need to be like salt and light:
“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. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5v13-16
In Jesus’ day, salt and light were two very valuable commodities: salt as a preservative (in the absence of fridges) and as a flavour enhancer; and light in the form of candles, lamps, torches (in the absence of electricity) were needed to see at night once the sun has set. The point of Jesus? Those who want to follow him and to make a real difference to other people, need to be salty in life, or you could say sweet, and so bring light into what is often a dark world.
And what does a salty life, a sweet life and a life that brings light look like? It is a life that goes in the opposite direction to most people, a life that is different, a life that is like Jesus, summed up in his ‘beatitudes’ (blessings) teaching:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5v1-12
My message this month….as we move forward into this next period of time, there are all sorts of things that we could make a focus of our life, but in whatever we do and say, the most important thing is to be salty and sweet and so a light.
With my prayers for October.
Revd James – Rector St Peter’s Bishop’s Waltham and Blessed Mary, Upham
18th September 2021