Sunday, 6 February 2011

Salt and Light

We were off lectionary this morning, launching some new music initiatives, but I couldn't help reflecting on the Lectionary passage - Jesus' words to his listeners about being salt and light in the world. These words seem alien in a society that warns about the dangers of too much salt in our diet and flags up light pollution. Is there any way to retrieve the essence of Jesus' teaching in our contemporary living? The impact that must have accompanied Jesus' words - to listeners who really appreciated the difference a grain of salt could make and who knew the value of the dimmest light in real darkness - is just lost on us.
That concept of making a difference through basic infiltration - how does that look today? What would be the  contemporary images or word bytes that might speak to Christ's followers in this age? It's tempting to think that it might be about being techno-savvy - getting ourselves out there on the web - being "connected". Making the biggest impact while conserving effort. But, the truth is that even in this vastly changed world, so different from the world that Christ entered, our affecting each other in the end comes down, quite simply, to relationships. Personal, up close relationships. Global community is undeniably important and can make a difference. But our relationship with our neighbour is still at the heart of our witness. It is still the single most effective tool. Salt and light might not have the same conceptual impact that it may have had in Jesus' day but the idea of gentle, persuasive interaction persists to create a real difference in the communities we inhabit - global and local.

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