This Sunday we continue the series of sermons in Sanctuary worship entitled “Parables of the Realm of God.” If you read last week’s blog, you will remember that I use the word “realm” — instead of “kingdom” — because the word “realm” captures the fuller meaning beautifully. The word “realm” means a royal domain, like the term “kingdom,” but it also means “the region, sphere, or domain within which anything occurs, prevails, or dominates.” So, I use the more inclusive term “realm”: the realm of God is “the region, sphere, or domain within which the will of God occurs, prevails, or dominates.” So, the larger question for us is what does God desire for us? Who does God want us to be?
In this Sunday’s sermon, I will be exploring a couple of Jesus’ parables that lead us to answer that question. They are simple parables of salt and light in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-16) directed at his followers, his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house.”
“These people are the salt of the earth,” an old retired pastor said about the congregations I had just begun serving, “the salt of the earth!” I was 20 years old beginning my ministry by serving three small, rural churches while a college student and newly married. I didn’t really know what he meant. Did he mean they were nice people? Was it just a way to say that they were down to earth? Did he mean to say that they were people of the land? All those things were true, but did he mean more by that? I came to understand that he meant more — much more.
Jesus describes his followers as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” What did those images mean to the first disciples? Salt brings out the flavor, it’s a preservative, and it has healing properties. Light enables us to see what is around us and ahead of us. It dispels darkness. What does it mean to be salt and light? And what does Jesus mean by expanding that to “the earth” and to “the world.” We will explore that question — and the way that description challenges us in our own living in very practical, “down to earth” ways.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster