Rev. George Borghardt
St. Matthew 5:13-16
In the name of Jesus. Amen. "You are the salt that salts the earth. You are the light that lights up the world."
Salt. Salt goes with the sacrifices in ancient Israel. It purifies. It sanctifies, it makes holy.
Where salt, there a covenant. A testament - cut with the sacrifice of grain or bull seasoned with salt, pure and holy.
Pointing to the sacrifice of the Son of God on the Cross. Beaten, broken, snuffed out, for our righteousness, for our salvation. There the salt is in the sweat, mixed with blood, flowing down His forehead.
Salt was rubbed on the Israelite baby’s heads. The Baby was seasoned - marked as the Lord's own.
That carried into the early baptismal rites too. The baby would have salt put on his or her tongue - tasty! Or better.. salty.
But, what a confession! In the baptismal font you were salted with His sacrifice. His death your death to sin. Your death to darkness and tasteless salt.
And here you are today, the baptized, the salted, His holy people, His kingly priests, lighting the world around you with His light. Salting it with everything that you do in this world.
You are who He says you are. His proclamation lights you up. His words salt you. Salt in all His saltiness. Light in all His brightness.
Except you know yourself to be far from salty and full of nothing but darkness. You know what you do. You’ve done it before. You’ll do it after you leave here. It horrifies you. Or that it doesn’t scare you, horrifies you more.
Darkness and about to be trampled under the foot - that’s what the Law says is waiting for you. And you try to stop, try to turn, but you just can’t get salty or become bright enough or to get out of it.
Now, there was that candle given to you in Baptism. You’ve seen it given to others. You got one too. And with the candle came the words, “Receive this burning light and live always in the light of Christ and be ever watchful for His coming”
It burned with His light. The Light who had just en-lightened you with His Cross-won forgiveness. For on Cross, His Light is snuffed out, sacrifice for your darkness. He rose and now His light will never dim. Your light too in the waters of your Baptism. Your salting too.
Born anew. Forgiven. Salted. And lit up with His life and light. Baptized. That’s you.
Now, salt that loses it’s saltiness is no use to anyone at all. Light that’s covered up in a basket doesn’t good either. Hide it under a bushel... You know the rest.
A city on a hill shines. A lamp on a lampstand gives light to the whole house. And salt, it gives flavor - Jesus flavor. His sacrifice. His forgiveness. His eternal life.
So that the world out there would see your lamp and glorify Him - not you. This hasn’t been about you at all, but about the One who brought you out of darkness into His wonderful light - your Father in Heaven.
For you aren’t salty by yourself. You aren’t a light at all. Not even a flicker. You know that.
He’s your salt. He’s your light. Given to you in His gifts. Gifts which salt you, light you, holy you, priest you, to salt, light, holy, and priest for others.
An early early early (like 100 A.D.) church Father named Ignatius, you can google Him on your phone when you get out of service, describe you and me as salted in Christ. Christ preserves us from corruption. He preserves us from sin and we are recognizable to the world by our smell. We are salted in Him.
Smells like a Lutheran? Not sweat, just Jesus. The One who was given to be sacrificed for your sins and raised for your justification. The One who is your Light. The One who is your King.
And so today, He sends you from here, given to, lit up with His light, and forgiven. His salt. His light. Shining when you aren’t even trying to shine and salting everything you do with His Cross.
That’s you when you feel salty and lighty like today at the end of a solid week of being nothing but given His salt and His light at this conference.
That’s you too - salt and light - even when you feel like salt that has lost it’s saltiness and your light seems all but extinguished.
But, His sacrifice for you on the Cross - There’s a light that no one can snuff out. A salty that will never lose it’s saltiness.
“You are the salt that salts the earth. You are the light that lights up the world.” You are the baptized.
"That in these gray and latter days, there may be those whose life is praise, each life a high doxology to Father, Son, and unto Thee." (LSB 834, 4). INI. Amen.