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How can we be the 'lights of the world'? (Matthew 5:13-20) and what are the benefits (Matthew 6:25-34)

I have always had great difficulty with both these New Testament passages

In last week’s Gospel we were asked to be ‘lights to the world’ – How can this be - flawed as we are in so many ways.

What is the Who, What, When, Where, Why of being global inspiration!

How do we be a light and how do we shine?  Fortunately, our Lord gave us clues in His Sermon on the Mount earlier in the chapter. For instance, Our Lord said:

Blessed or fortunate are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. – Whenever we do actually manage humility helps us become a little light

Blessed or fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Whenever we do manage to thirst for knowledge again we become a little light

Blessed or fortunate are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Whenever we succeed in being merciful, we become another little light

Blessed or fortunate are the pure in heart, for they will see God. – Whenever we are actually pure in heart, we create God space and vision – and so become another little light

Blessed or fortunate are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. Again, when we succeed our little lights shine again – it may not be for long

In short, Our Lord's teaching can help us become occasional little specks of light. We are not perfect all the time! Nobody is. We just have to do the best we can.

Crucially like any good forgiving parent Our Lord understands. In the next Chapter Matthew records

“Who among you, if their son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Most of us have children or grandchildren who have drawn pictures of us. They are not always great likenesses but we love them all the same. Equally the Lord understands and loves us for whatever we try to do. We just have to do our best. Shine as best we can!

We are Christ representatives on earth. As the wonderful St Teresa said

Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which He looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world

The second most difficult passage is not worrying about ‘the morrow’ Again my monastic experience reveals that things do just turn up, sort out

Provided we try to live and work within the beatitudes to the best of our ability the Lord really does take care of the rest

Funds for necessary things do just miraculously appear. The problems of our lives really do just sort out – sometimes miraculously. Last month I had a dreadful cramp in my legs at night. I suddenly found Dee -unbidden putting much more salt into our food. The cramps disappeared. 

Recently I had a tax return that was paid for simply by a delay in the funds being drawn down from a pension fund. Basically during the two week delay the market went up by exactly the amount of the tax return. It was as though it had never happened.

I needed a quote about being a good parent. Luke 12 just opened when I went to the wood Bible

During the first 71 years of my life I find that I am just being quietly nudged and helped along by the Holy Spirit

As President Roosevelt said we have nothing to fear but fear itself

St Francis said preach the Gospel always and sometimes use words. Basically, we can become little specks of light reflecting occasional, but important flashes of the Beatitudes. If we do that everything sorts out

We can all be lights to the world – however small. It is our right and duty to be children of God to do so!

Amen

 

Sunday 12th February 2023 Coryton Church Northumberland Evensong

Matthew 5:13-20 NIV Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 6:25-34 New International Version

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.