Lenten Journey Day 39 – Light and Salt
Change. We have changed through the Lenten Season. In fact, our Lord Jesus Christ is the author of change. He advocated our need to change. He taught us a path to get back home through repentance. He expressed through words and his life, that through simplicity we can find happiness and inner peace.
Christ has the ability to change evil into good. Certainly, at the Cross, he transformed the evil Crucifixion into a “Good” Friday event, by the power of the Resurrection. Jesus also changes word and concepts. For instance he took the words of condemnation and turned them into words of salvation. The first man heard the words, “Take and eat this will make you like God,” and was condemned. Jesus took those same words and made them into words of salvation, “Take and eat,” this will make you like God, for this is my body and this is my blood.
Jesus is the one who transforms us and in him we see a transfiguration. A renewal for our lives. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gives us a formula for happiness. In the Beatitudes we are told what is really important in life. In giving us hope and belief in tomorrow, he concludes the Beatitudes by once again changing us by giving an opportunity for us to partake in the Divine Nature. The same one who once said, “I am the light of the world,” now turns to us and says, “You are the light of the world,” giving us an opportunity, much like the disciples who witnessed the transfiguration, who saw His radiance, an opportunity to see the fullness of God.
According to the Old Testament, the first thing that God willed was light, “Let there be light.” This is independent of any celestial body. It is pure light. It is radiating light. It is healing light. It is the light that is from the beginning of time and continues forever.
Jesus gives us an opportunity to be that light. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says, “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.”
Using something as small and seemingly insignificant as a grain of salt, Jesus emphasizes how important our life is in the big picture. The Lord proclaims that you are important because you are that salt of the earth. That salt is used to flavor life, to give life its meaning and to give it content, that is, inner happiness, inner strength, inner peace.
In Armenian Church tradition a priest blesses the homes of his parishioners and part of that ritual involves blessing water for the spiritual needs of the family and blessing the bread for the physical needs of the family. Equally as important, the priest blesses salt because flavor is necessary in life. We are called to the happiness of life , to share in God’s love, in God’s kingdom, in the goodness that is all around us. Imagine, “You are the salt of the earth” because you give meaning to what we know as life.
Jesus continues, “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.”
There is a responsibility that comes with being light. Light needs to shine. Ours is to light the world. We do not have the right to hide light.
Today we find more opportunities of expressing our responsibility in God’s Creation. You are called to a unique responsibility of being salt, the flavor of life. You are the light which illuminates the darkness and illuminates the path to your heavenly Father. As night falls on the Lenten Season, we are given the responsibility to shine light on a world that is in need of illumination.
The sun goes down daily over our lives, but for many lives, the glimmer of hope for a new sun rise is nonexistent. Imagine leaving a room, turning off the lights and the room becomes so dark that those people in it cannot see the light switch. They don’t know where to turn. They don’t know where to reach to turn on the light. You are the light of the world. Shine. Turn on the switch. Provide hope, faith and love.
Today God is calling upon you to become the light of the world, not to hide yourself under a table but to put yourself on the light stand. As someone who has gone through this Lenten season you now have a new responsibility to light the darkness and in so doing, to become an agent of Christ, to become a pillar of hope where there cannot be hope. You are the salt of the Earth to bring flavor to life, you are the light of the world to bring light into the darkness.
Let us pray the prayer of Saint Nerses Shnorhali (Norasdeghdzyal):
In the beginning the Word newly created the heaven and heavens out of nothing, and the celestial hosts: the watchers, the angels and the elements, contrary one to the other, and yet agreeing, by which the indescribable Trinity is ever glorified.
The thrice-holy One, dominion and Godhead in one nature, the light uncreated that creates, commanded that there be created light, which he made to shine on the first Lord’s day that was Sunday, by which the inexpressible Trinity is ever glorified.
O You Love, in love You humbled Yourself and took human form for our salvation, in the same body that was crucified, and laid in the tomb of death, this day You rose as God and the angels proclaimed; come you who are saved, sing with the angel praises to him that is risen.