Sunday, 13 February 2011

Salt of Earth, Light of World Sermon

Here is it finally, a week after it was preached, the sermon from last sunday (6th February 2011) on Salt of the Earth and Light of the World.

Lectionary readings:
Isaiah 58: 1-9
Psalm 112: 1-9
1Corinthians 2: 1-12
Matthew 5:13-20

Sermon Points:

1. Praise or Criticism?

Do you prefer to be praised or criticised?
Carrot or stick?
Certificate or naughty step?

Praise encourages us to try more, do more, it is Good News.
Criticism makes us miserable, there is little point in trying again.

This is what Jesus is talking about in the sermon presented in Matthew’s Gospel.

2. Salt of the Earth
Salt – valuable – used as pay for roman soldiers
As valuable as gold or oil is today
It was important that there was salt in the land, to fertilise and nourish, if there was no salt then land was unusable

Jesus uses this analogy to show us how we need to be the salt,
we need to be God’s disciples in the world
enriching, nurturing, nourishing, useful

3. Light of the World
Jesus then says we should be the light of the world
As Jesus was himself
Light is:
- vision in the dark
- direction to guide others
- reflection of Christ in the world

Jesus is telling the disciples, and us as disciples, to light the way
To help people see God
To guide others to and through faith
To be Christ like ourselves
All thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit in us all

4. God at Work today
Today as I have said, our lectionary readings focus on
Salt of the earth and light of the world

Today Neil, Maureen and Wendy are in Ndola in Zambia at the Jubilee Centre. The Jubilee Centre’s mission is “to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world”.

God is at work as much today as he was when Jesus was walking the earth. As the Holy Spirit, in us and everyone.

5. Mission in Zambia
So if we are called to be salt and light the question is …
I’m going to read a letter that Lawrence at the Jubilee Centre wrote to the local children……..

This speaks to me of the need for mission to Zambia, as to many other countries in Africa and throughout the world. Zambia needs money, support, prayer, campaigning, justice and more.

But more that that, Lawrence’s letter tells me of all we can learn from the people of Zambia and from the mission activities of places like the Jubilee Centre.

A relationship with a church in Zambia could give us a better understanding of community and how we could encourage it; a reflection on the materialistic culture we live in and it’s problems; and the real meaning of giving. A two way mission.

6. Mission at Home
So how do we enact this learning from Zambia here is Earley?
Let me take you back to the first things I said.
Do we prefer to be criticised or praised?

God empowers us to work with the Holy Spirit in the world.
To be the salt
To be the light
We should reflect God’s goodness in our lives, in our actions.
We spread the Good News through ourselves, more than words.

Let us not criticise the world,
Let us change it with praise and encouragement,
Let us demonstrate God within us as the Holy Spirit,
Let us be Paul like, as the people at the Jubilee Centre show us.

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