Sunday 9th February 2020, Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany St Anne”s Episcopal Church, Stockton.

Father Christian

How would you answer if someone asked you to define yourself? What is your identity? Some people might answer with what they do to earn a living. “I am an engineer.” “l am a personal injury attorney”. Others would identify themselves with the the different roles they carry out. “l am a mother of three young children.” “l am a volunteer at my church.” Still others identify themselves by their accomplishments. “l am the best basketball player on my school team.” There are problems, however, with identifying ourselves in these ways. If my job or my role is my identity, what happens when that changes? Who am I then on the day of my retirement? You can begin to see how much emotional damage takes place, when we get our identity from what we do or what we have done. You can begin to see why some people have such a difficult time in retirement or when they can no longer do what they once did. They feel they have lost their identity. So how do you avoid such a fate? You listen to Jesus. Jesus tells you who you are. And, whether you are young or old, employed or retired, whether you can still play the game or not, your identity will never change.

Our text is a portion of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the mount. The Sermon on the Mount was directed at Jesus’ disciples. It is also meant for Christians. Jesus is explaining what it is like to be one of His followers! He was saying, “People who are part of my Kingdom are blessed because they are poor in Spirit, and they are meek and thirst for righteousness.” Now, Jesus continues the introduction by telling His people who they are. He is telling you your identity. “You are the salt of the earth”.Take note that Jesus did not say, “You SHOULD be” or “You WILL be” or “I wish you WERE.” He says you ARE the salt of the earth.” Salt has many uses. It seasons food. It preserves food, keeping it from rotting. Salt is necessary for the human body. Salt is critical to life on earth. The point that Jesus is making is that as a child of God, a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, you are critical to life on this earth. You are keeping this world from rotting. You are keeping this world from deteriorating into a hell on earth.

“You,” Jesus says, “Are the salt that keeps this world from becoming as rotten as a piece of meat lying out in the hot sun. I have made you humble and meek and merciful and kind . I have made you loving and patient and generous. You, my people, are sprinkled around this world, preserving it. “

And Jesus says, “You are the light of the world…Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” The people of this world are living in darkness. They are stumbling around, trying to find meaning and purpose, trying to figure out what is right or wrong, trying to find some source of truth and certainty. They are lost in the darkness of their own sin and unbelief. But, there you are, a light shining in a dark place.. There you are showing them truth and love. Jesus says “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” You are the light of the world!! It would make no sense to hide who you are, and

WHOSE you are! Let your light shine wherever you are. Let your spouse see that you are GOD’S. Let your children see that you are GOD’S.. Let your fellow fans see that you are GOD’S. Let your friends on facebook see that you are GOD’S. Let your coworkers see that you are GOD’S.

Let them see your true identity. Your identity is the light of the world. That is who you are. That is what God has made to be. Jesus says so!! This does not change. You are salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. And you will be for the rest of your life. You do not lose that identity. You will be salt and light in every situation you find yourself. You see, when you are a citizen of God’s kingdom, your identity is not dependent upon your circumstances. It is who you are. Now therefore we must be reminded that our identity is a gift of God’s grace. Jesus is here this morning to tell us that our sins are such serious business that he came all the way to our world in order to fulfill God’s demands. He also said that all our sins that we have failed, He has fulfilled for us. And that is why we are salt of the earth and light of the world.

If you are under the impression when you came here this morning that you are not particularly important or that your life has no meaning, Jesus assures you that you are the salt of the earth.

You are the light of the world. Thank you Jesus for making it so. AMEN!

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