The Presence of Salt and Light

We all know that salt and light are essential to our daily life. We cannot live very long without either salt or light. What are the first images that come to your mind when you have heard or read that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world? Do you see images that show food, healing, warmth, and illumination, amongst other positive benefits, all of which give or sustain life?

I see images that provide fulfillment to life and show care for those who are searching for sustenance and support. Considering those images as part of our response to being called the salt and light of the world, what should those images draw out of us as we look to be instruments of God that help support and sustain life?

One of the most important elements needed to ensure that we provide the essence of salt and light, which represent life, care, illumination, and sustenance is our consistent, patient, and welcoming presence. Here is a quote that highlights that point:

"Sigmund Freud tells the story of a three-year-old boy crying in a dark room of a home he was visiting one evening. 'Auntie,' the boy cried, 'talk to me! I'm frightened because it is so dark.' His aunt answered him from another room: 'What good would that do? You can't see me.' 'That doesn't matter,' replied the child. 'When you talk, it gets light.'" - David G. Benner, Presence and Encounter: The Sacramental Possibilities of Everyday Life

The boy needed to know that his aunt was near him, and her voice alone calmed his fears. Just as salt and light are present throughout the Earth, the first part of being salt and the light in this world means to be present where it is needed - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We all need that presence, especially when darkness surrounds us, to feel secure.

There are pitfalls, however, to watch out for as we embody salt and light. When you read Matthew 5:13-20, you will find some of those pitfalls. Pray for God's guidance to understand why those pitfalls often catch us unaware.

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