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February 5, 2023

Beyond Morality and Ethics

Pastor KJ Kim

Psalm 112: 1-10: Matthew 5: 13-20

In one of today’s passages, the gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, Jesus begins his sermon by making the analogy that his followers are to be like salt and light, that is, to “be righteous.” In addition, today’s other passage, Psalm 112, also sketches out “righteous persons” as those who have power and influence to make a positive difference in the life of the community.

What does it mean for each of us to be like salt and light each other? To say that we are to be the salt of the kingdom of God on Earth implies that we are to bring some “flavor” to our relationships with each other. In certain circumstances, salt can be used as a preservative, keeping food fresh for an extended period of time. Salt is also used to stimulate thirst.

Now, we can begin to imagine how these functions of salt might relate to our practice of ministry. Maybe, we act like the salt while we keep preserving, and practicing the ancient stories in the Bible fresh and alive today; stimulating thirst for something that the world cannot give; and removing and healing people’s scars and wounds and so on.

How about becoming like light? We are reminded that we are the light of the world and that this light should not be hidden but seen. The light is the light of gospel, and it draws all people to its warmth and radiance. What we also need to remember to be light is that we should be willing to go where the darkness exits, to engage and walk through it. Even if light is small and dim, light can shine to lead our steps.

Look at the world where we live in every day. The world still needs righteous people who can forgive, pray, and even love our enemies. The world still needs those who not only love those who love us, but also love and pray for those who against us. And the world still needs those who continue to build a bridge and space where the evil and the good meet together, while they see the sun rise together and stand in the rain together.

We all know “turning 21” does not make a person a true adult. Rather, “21” is the beginning of being adulthood. Likewise, coming to church and the bible study regularly, tithing and offering to the church, and participating in some volunteer-services do not make us to “be righteous.” Those may help us to begin our journey of “being righteous” and being like salt and light to the world.

Our saltness not only keeps the ancient stories visible and alive, but also challenges us for change in order to grow Christ-like. And we must go into the dark places, bearing the light of Christ—no matter small and dim--because the light of Christ is not given for our own enjoyment.

Let us remember that our calling is to be more gracious, unflappable, and compassionate in order to care about God’s justice in the world, and to love the world in God’s ways of love as God always allows the good and the evil to have the sunrise and rain together. Let us remember that our calling is not easy, but is essential, so that we need one another in order to complete our journey to become truly righteous persons.

Thanks be to God.

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