salt and light

Today we are still with Jesus on the mountain being taught about God and God's law.  This week we are not told we are blessed, but that we are salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-20).  Isaiah's passage reminds the people that they are to be a light, but that they can't be that light until the recognize and take care of the poor, those enslaved, the widow and orphan and stop only thinking about themselves (Isaiah 58:1-12).

So what is the difference in the way the prophet has phrased this and the way Jesus presents it?  The first one is this:  the people in Isaiah had been spared in Jerusalem itself from being enslaved and having to live in Babylon.  They believed God would never allow Jerusalem to be attacked.  So we can just keep living the way we are, God will save us.  The people Jesus is talking to are under oppressive Roman rule.  If they don't obey Roman law they die.  They have already been humbled.  They feel forgotten. So instead of telling them they have to change their ways Jesus reminds them that they are already salt and light and they shouldn't waste it.

The Episcopal Church of Sudan is going through something like this right now.  They realize they have to be at the forefront of talks and in teaching reconciliation to have peace in South Sudan.  Friday they put out a call at the AFRECS meeting for people to come and teach them about this.  They realize they cannot do this alone and they realize they have to be the ones who initiate this dialogue with their people.  They are a light, they know the power they have in this and they want to use it. 

How can you be salt and light?  How can you be that not only to those outside your doors, but to those within your doors?  What are your passions?  The gifts and talents that you already possess that can be used to be that light.  Find them and use them not only for those around you, but for the light you already are.