"Salting the world with the Word” Sermon / Matthew 5:13-20 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht/ Sunday February 9th 2020 / Season of Epiphany / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Theme: “Salting the World with the Word”
Intr – It was Sunday right afternoon. Andrew had his lunch and was doing nothing, as many Sundays go. One thing he was doing though; he attended Church that morning and he was thinking about the sermon, and how it didn’t seem to make lots of sense for daily life. Nice Bible explanation, some interesting thoughts, but the connections about salt, saltiness, “you are the salt of the World” and daily life outside the Church’s door seemed to be loose, especially that part about “foolishness of the salt”. He recalled the pastor preaching:
“The Greek word here is not actually taste, but “fool, foolishness”, as the rendering of the word “moraino” goes. “If salt becomes fool, how can its saltiness be restored?” As Christians we live in this earth that has gone fool, mad by sin. It is unsalted. We are the salt of the world. We have a “foolish” message, Christ crucified, to bring to a world gone mad. Jesus tells us we are the salt the Earth needs to be seasoned with.”
With those thoughts, Andrew dozed off in his recliner until almost supper time.
Monday afternoon. Work place. Andrew casually notices that one of his co-workers in the room is not having a great day. There is something going on. He went up for some water and noticed he was even weeping a bit. He never knew what to do in those situations, so he went back to his bay trying to concentrate on his work. All of a sudden, words from Sunday sermon popped up in his mind:
“Christ’s disciples should then not only be men who think and reflect, but also men who act, not being dominated by the world, but conquering it with the Word. “ You are the salt of the Earth”. As Christians, we have been transformed. We aren’t anymore the Earth, but its salt. Even as sinners we don’t belong to the world, but to Christ. We are salt, for we were transformed through repentance and faith by the action of the Holy Spirit. Now we are the salt of earth bringing to many this same Jesus.”
As surprised as he was thinking about a Sunday morning’s sermon on a Monday afternoon, he decided to do something; or at least to try. He fired him off a message. “If you need to talk to someone, I will be glad to help. Don’t feel pressed to though”. Minutes later came the answer. “Thanks, man. I lost someone from my family last week, and I’m not ready to talk about it yet. But it is good to know that I can count on you”. “Sure thing. God bless you and comfort you”, Andrew replied.
“My faith in action.” Andrew always construed messages about sharing his faith as something that is so elaborate that he would never be able to do. “That’s for the pastors and the elders”. Now a simple, direct, and meaningful opportunity to do that was possibly at hand. “Salting the World with the Word”, the sermon’s theme came to his mind once again.
Wednesday evening. TV is on with the evening news. There was war somewhere; problems and tragedies popping up from around the world; people in town were upset about the effects of a prolonged negotiation. Problems, corruption, pain… “This world is becoming tasteless by the day”, he commented with his wife. Oops! There was that feeling again that Sunday’s sermon was close to him on his week. Another section of it came to his mind:
“Sometimes the question is brought up about why is there so much corruption in the world. The answer is: we are failing to be salt of the earth. Unfortunately, this is what we see sometimes. Instead of salt of the Earth, we are the fire of the earth, not preserving but destroying it. Instead of salt, cannons and guns are seen in many places. Instead of preserving life, we humans seek to destroy lives. Sin. Sin has his hallmark all around and we all need to repent of our tastelessness and foolishness, asking forgiveness before God.”
He recalled the pastor mentioning that the point Jesus is making here is that it is impossible for salt to lose saltiness. Otherwise it is sugar, pepper or even sand, but not salt. “Now, is if my salt is gone, am I still a Christian?” This sort of shook him a bit. He thought of his spiritual life, his actions, and the way faith was or wasn’t’ showing in his daily actions. “Do I still have salt; or am I losing it?”
In the midst of those thoughts he strived to remind a word of comfort from the sermon. Is there forgiveness for the times we are not striving to conserve and preserve the world around us? He went online to the congregation’s website and heard again the pastor talking about metanoia, the Greek word for repentance, and how God acted in the world so that it wouldn’t go mad forever.
“In the context of the NT salt meant the main the ingredient to preserve food, for salt prevents deterioration. Now, the earth is defiled by sin, therefore, apart from God. So God intervened with salt. Salt used to be earth, but by “metanoia”, repentance, a total transformation of the mind, is now transformed into salt, by faith in Christ. “Metanoia” is a radical change in life. Christ is our salt and he makes us the salt of the earth. He forgives us daily, and daily sends us to our task of salting the earth. We ourselves were earth but God’s power transformed us into salt. In that way we are also God's presence in the world, reflecting His Word, to preserve it.”
“The sermon is not miles away from my daily life after all,” Andrew thought later on at the dinner table, when he stopped his arm mid air from sprinkling salt on his French fries recalling his blood pressure issues. “I can live well without salt, or with less of it in my food. But the world needs the Salt from the Word, us, to receive the opportunity of that Greek thing…what was it…metanoia, true repentance, to have faith in Jesus.”
He was really surprised. For the first time in a long time he noticed that connection between a sermon and daily life. Perhaps it was sometimes the Pastor’s fault, if he was too long or too abstract?... But he had to admit his fault was there too, in many ways.
He went to bed that Wednesday with one picture in his mind. How can salt lose its saltiness? It can’t. It is either salt or it is not. How can a Christian have never his faith shown in works in its life and still be a Christian? He can’t. You are either a Christian or you’re not. He even had a bedtime prayer, something he hadn’t do for a long time.
FRIDAY morning. Coffee shop, coffee mates, different topics of conversation, laughs, double-doubles and fun. Then someone hit the topic of Church going.
“I don’t go to Church”, one said. “Waste of time."
“I like faith, but I don’t like the Church” another one joined.
“After all, the Bible was written by sinners, human beings” sentenced someone else. “Can we really trust it? I don’t think so.”
Andrew lowered his eyes and had another sip of coffee. That was his usual attitude in those circumstances. He didn’t want to trigger anyone, or to be polemic, he didn’t… “I don’t want to show my faith, I’m embarrassed!” a very sincere thought pierced his mind. “I’m afraid of being salt…I think they’d prefer me to be honey, not salt. They’ll be happier with that.”
But that was a different week. The salt, foolishness theme was on his mind all along. After another sip of warm coffee, he said.
“Well, I go to church!”
Most friends were not startled by it, but one of them cared to ask: “You do? Do you believe the Bible, Jesus, all that stuff?”
-Well, we have to respect everyone’s choices… but…don’t you think that’s a little bit naïve? Or at least, with so many religions and different interpretations of the Bible around, that it might not be as true as priests claim it to be?
They talked about it a bit, pros and cons, faith and life… until Andrew was suprised to hear himself say in the kindest way possible. “Fine, let’s for a moment put the Bible aside as written by humans. Now, I’m pretty sure you all have your own convictions, principles, and truths, right?
-Sure – they nodded.
-Now, the books, articles, social media posts you read and learn from and rely on…who wrote them?
There wasn’t really and answer to that. A moment of an awkward silence followed until it was everybody’s time to hit the road to go to work.
Andrew was a little insecure if he did the right thing. But again he was comforted by words from the sermon when he went online to read a bit more:
“When we remember that we are 100% sinners, we know we may be fools. But because of Christ Crucified, a message that is foolishness for many but salvation to the ones in faith, now we were made from fools into Children, and also into salt. 100% saved. We don’t need to have necessarily good flavour – that is, sometimes the message of the Bible will be bitter to the taste of the Word. The world would prefer us to be honey. Still, what we must to preserve is our saltiness. We can communicate God’s message to the World without changing it, so it may be a changing message, bringing many through the foolishness of the Cross to God’s wisdom, knowledge and reason – all through faith in Him.”
The weekend came and his mind was bubbling. What a different week! He knew that Christ through the Word was working in him, and it kept building up. On Saturday afternoon he receives a message from one of the coffee mates. “That thing you said yesterday, it really got stuck in my mind. I can’t stop thinking about it” He smiled and said a mental prayer thanking God for leading him in that. Perhaps that would be a beginning of something in the life of that friend? Andrew was happy to realize that he didn’t have to have a theology degree to be able to share his faith. He just had to be salt in God’s hands.
And he couldn’t help but going online to read again the pastor’s words about how to do that:
“What’s the best way to do it? It’s that thing called Agape aletethus. That’s a formula I’ve invented based on the chemical formula of table salt. Its chemical name is sodium chloride. Sodium and chlorine are two substances that apart from each other may not be useful and can be even harmful to us. But when combined, bring saltiness and taste to our life. Now, as for agape aletethus it is the formula I came up with to talk about the combination of Agape, Love, with Aletheia, Truth. When apart from each other, they may bring either a tasteless life, with lots of love but no truth, or a very harsh, dry life, with lots of truth but no love. When both come together, we bring saltiness to people’s lives, communicating God’s truth in love.”
Cc – Sunday morning; Church day again. Another regular Sunday, but for Andrew it was a little different, after that week. He was especially eager to hear that Sunday’s sermon and its connections to his daily life. With that in mind he began to sing the first hymn with the congregation. His heart was filled with joy for the Word of God in His life, and of many others; for the salt that the Holy Spirit had poured in him through faith in Christ. He was thankful that God, in Christ, had called him to be His, and to salt the World with the Word.
 An exegesis of Matthew 5.13 by Dr. Donaldo Schuler”, p.2
This violence is also practiced in the pastoral activity when coercion is used, the law instead of the proclamation of the Gospel, which is the power of God used by the Holy Spirit to operate the "metanoia".”“An exegesis of Matthew 5.13 by Dr. Donaldo Schuler”, p.2
 Jesus didn’t say: "I am salt of the earth". He uses many “I ams” in other contexts for him to define his work of rescuing humanity: "I am the resurrection, I am the way, etc." Here he is talking about the task of the church, the task of the disciples in all the times. “Our task” he thought. The word Christ is clear: “You are the salt of the earth”. “An exegesis of Matthew 5.13 by Dr. Donaldo Schuler”, p.2