traditional-art-deco-chandeliersEpiphany 5 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
February 5, 2017
Psalm 112:1-9, Isaiah 58:3-9, 1 Corinthians 2:1-12, Matthew 5:13-20

There’s a couple who love to watch the home improvement shows on HGTV.  They watch these old, run down houses be transformed into beautiful, modern showcase homes and are inspired to fix up their own home.

Much of their house has already been fixed up but they are looking for the perfect light fixture to complete the transformation.  They search high and low at lighting stores, estate sales, and online trying to find the perfect fixture.

They finally find it.  It is a beautiful, antique, art deco chandelier with points sticking up holding the glass shade in place.  It brings to mind New York City with the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.  It’s perfect.  They purchase it online and wait impatiently to have it shipped hoping it arrives without damage.

It arrives shortly in flawless condition and after they hang the light and turn it on it is better than they imagined.  It really lights up the basement storage room next to the furnace.  They leave the beautiful light on and shut the door and go back upstairs.

Their wonderful, beautiful new light is hidden away in basement.  How foolish?  Who would do that?

You are the light of the world.  More specifically, ya’ll are the light of the world.  You all are the Lord’s wonderful, beautiful light.  You have received the blessings of God right now and for eternity.  You are blessed right now to be in the Kingdom of Heaven.  You are in Christ.  You have put on Christ.  You have forgiveness, life and salvation.  You have the light of Christ’s forgiveness and love shining into your life from the cross of Calvary.  You all have the light of Christ shining into your lives and, Jesus says, you are the light of the world.  Now the question is are you shining out where everyone can see?  Or are in the basement storage room with the door closed?

Can you trust what Jesus says?  He says you are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world.  Salt flavors and preserves, light drives away the darkness.  This is who you are in Christ.  Be salt.  Let you light shine.  Matthew 5:16 (ESV) 16 …let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. [1]

Let your light shine.  Do good to others.  Do good works.  Not so you can be rewarded, but so people can see your good works and give glory to God the Father.

Now it can feel quite safe hiding in the basement shining your light where no one can see, but I know that if you use your imaginations you can come up with simple and wonderful ways to let your light shine in the world.

Now, I could give you a list of things you could be doing; should be doing, but that isn’t the way that it works.  It is not up to me to tell you how you should be salt and light.  You need to discover your own ways to be salt and light to the world.

In each of your lives you have so many roles and vocations.  Are you a child living with your parents?  What are some ways to let your light shine at home?  Are you a student at school?  How can you let your light shine at school in love and care for others; perhaps others that are on the margins?  Are you a parent?  How can you let your light shine as you spend quality and quantity with your children?  Are you single?  How do you let your light shine in relationships with your family and friends?

     Now it can feel quite safe hiding in the basement shining your light where no one can see, but I know that if you use your imaginations you can come up with simple and wonderful ways to let your light shine in the world.

Are you a worker?  How do you let your light shine with your boss and your fellow employees?  Are you the boss?  How do you let your light shine in the company?  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, citizens, teachers, neighbors, husbands, wives, church members; so many roles that you have in life; so many opportunities to let your light shine in the world.  So many opportunities to let the love and forgiveness and light of Christ shine forth from you.  Not in big, flashy ways, but in quiet, simple ways living your ordinary life in an extraordinary way.  Let your light shine by loving and caring and protecting one another.  Love others as Christ loves you.

And this is tough.  Love is tough.  You can never love enough.  You always have a lot to confess when it comes to loving others.  When we learn about the Ten Commandments we learn that the summary of the first table of the commandments is just two words.  Love God.  The summary of the second table of the commandments is three words.  Love your neighbor.  And who is your neighbor?  Everyone else.  Now it is sort of easy to love everyone because you don’t actually see them.  It is harder to love the people right around you because sometimes those people can be jerks.  Love them anyway.  Let your light shine.  Love is hard.  Love is messy and inefficient.  Love is often not returned.  Love anyway.  People will take your love and care and they won’t appreciate it; they won’t thank you for it.  Love anyway.  Let your light shine.  Be the salt of the earth.

Live out life as a Christian being a little Christ to the world.  Live knowing you have nothing in yourself that makes you worthy of forgiveness.  Live knowing that even though you are poor in spirit you are right now and forever in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Live life mourning all the evil and trouble and hurt in the world; the day is coming when you will be comforted.

Live life in humility and meekness; not lording over others; not abusing others with your power or authority.  Live in lowly service; the day is coming when all the earth will be yours.

Live life with a hunger and thirst for the world to be right with God; your hunger and thirst will be satisfied on the day of Christ’s return.

Live life showing mercy to others.  Live life not giving people what they deserve but giving them undeserved love.

Live life in devotion to the one true God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Live in the knowledge of forgiveness flowing from Jesus on the cross to you through God’s Word, through baptism and through Holy Communion.  Live following the true God and you will see God.

Live life bringing peace to the world.  The peace announced by the angels on the night of Jesus birth; the peace brought by the Prince of Peace; the peace that is beyond understanding; the undeserved peace brought to sinners through the blood of Jesus.  Live life bringing this peace to a world at enmity with God and you will be called sons of God.

Live life knowing that you live in a world that hates Jesus.  You live in a world that hates Christianity; hates you because you are a follower of Jesus.  Do not be surprised when the world attacks you, persecutes you, reviles you, and says all kinds of evil against you on account of Jesus.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

Jesus says you are the salt of the earth.  Jesus says you are the light of the world.  It is who you are; Jesus is not lying.  Live your life as a forgiven child of God being salt and light.

Matthew 5:16 (ESV) 16 …let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. [2]

Don’t hide your light.  Shine your light where others can see.  You are the salt of the earth.  You are the light of the world.

Amen.

[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[2]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

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