Sunday 9 February: Matthew 5:13-15 Matthew 5:13-155:13 'You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled under people's feet.5:14 'You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. 5:15 No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. ContextJesus continues his Sermon on the Mount. In the foregoing passage (5:3-12) he had called blessed a number of people who would show aspects of living the Lord’s commandments. Now he draws the consequences of such a life. People who are behaving in the ‘blessed’ way are ‘salt for the Land’. The Land is the Land God promised to its people in the time of Abraham: the promised Land. They are (literally translated) ‘light of the world’. They are a ‘city on a mountain’, just as Jerusalem was: called to be the dwelling place of the Lord as a sign for the whole world. InformationThe translation gives: ‘... if salt loses it taste...’ The Greek text says, ‘if salt becomes moronic’... The English word ‘moron(ic)’ is derived from the Greek word ‘moros’ = foolish. ‘Moronic’ is the opposite of ‘wise’. According to the Bible ‘wisdom’ is to love God’s commandments. ‘Wisdom’ is the ability to connect God(‘s commandments) with every aspect of life. As a consequence I am ‘moronic’ when I don’t connect God with everything I speak and do in my life. Picture Meditation In the foreground I see a man and a woman who are throwing away salt. Knowing that salt is a symbol for a life according God’s to commandments, was there a moment/period in my life that I threw away ‘salt’? Or that I had to throw away something that pretended to be ‘salt’ but it turned out that it wasn’t? In the picture salt takes the shape of a mourning woman lying on the floor. Is that a reminiscence of the wife of Lot (Genesis 19:26) who was changed into salt because she didn’t follow the commandments of the Lord? What happens with me, when I don’t follow the commandments of the Lord. In the corner top left a city on a mountain. Such a city can be understood as a symbol for the purpose of my life; the goal to which I am going to. It says what direction I have to take in my life: as long as I can see it from afar it fills me with longing and desire to arrive there. In the picture I see indeed two tiny people walking in the direction of the city on the mountain. What is ‘the city’, the purpose in my life? How far does the purpose of my life define the direction I want/have to go? Do I know people around me who are such ‘cities’? Could it be that I myself served as such a city for somebody? Matthew’s text is speaking about ‘a light on a lamp-stand’. The light in the top right corner has changed here into a sun shining its light on the book (Bible?) the person is reading. In the background two boats. They are a reference to the calling of the first disciples, fishermen. After all Jesus is speaking to his disciples. Was there ever a sun shining in my life? A word or a gesture of a person? An experience I lived which gave me a lot of wisdom? Perhaps even a painful or a shameful moment? And - why not: had I ever the chance to shine a light for another?