Circuit Winkel 1 (Matthew 5)
- Order of Service: Divine Service 4
- Hymns: LSB #830, “Spread the Reign of God the Lord”
"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Jesus calls His disciples to be salt and light. Most especially, does He call His pastors to be salt and light. And this also applies to the pastor's family. How can the congregation be salt and light if they don't see that salt and light reflected from their pastor and his family?
What a great burden God places on us! What a great blessing God gives to us! The burden and the blessing to be an example for the flock. What God has called us to do. What the wives married into. What the children were born into. To be salt and light.
Salt has always been one of the greatest preservatives. It slows the decay process in meat. It enhances food's flavor. For many people, salt is necessary for life. They need it for their food. Others find it an annoying spice.
But it is necessary for the Christian life. Christians are the salt of the earth. And their pastors are the salt of Christians. Because each has been salted with Christ through Baptism.
But it is a burden that each of us have buckled under. We strive to be salt for our congregations. We struggle with leading by example. Especially when it seems no one takes notice. That everyone seems to have lost their saltiness. Or that they don't care about their own saltiness.
When we reach this point, Christ gives us more salt. We don't necessarily see it, but it is there. Jesus is always with us. There is nowhere that we can go where we are not in His presence. Jesus continues to restore our saltiness so we can proclaim His Word. So we can restore the people's saltiness. So they can live as the salt of the earth. Preserving and adding the spice of Christ into the people God brings into their lives. God's salt continues to spread its saltiness.
As His light, you show the way to the Father. The Psalm says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” As you proclaim God's Word, you shed God's revealing light on the congregation's hearts and souls. Showing both the good and the bad.
Proclaiming His pure Gospel, you pronounce the forgiveness of sins. You bring light into the darkness of a sin-filled heart. As a Christian, you are God's light in this darkened world. As a pastor, you are God's light placed on the stand. As a pastor, people look up to you. To see your example. To criticize your difference from the pastors before you.
But Jesus charges you, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see you good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven.” As a Christian pastor, Christ calls you to be an example. To show the congregation entrusted to you the way they should go and how they should act and do.
And this is where the devil tries to distract you. He seeks to bring you into despair when you can't see measureable growth. He whispers in your ear, “Is your light really shining? I can't see it. Surely you are casting my shadows and not showing God's light.”
Or when growth happens, he whispers in your ear, “Look at what you've done! Take a bow for all the great work you are doing! Make them see how wondeful you are!”
In both these instances, you have only one refuge in the midst of these struggles. Your only refuge is in the One who is both true salt and light. You go back to the words He spoke to you when you were ordained and installed as the pastor of His congregation. You look back to the passages read concerning the Office of the Ministry. You look to the charge He gives.
Jesus calls you to be salt and light. To salt your hearers with His Word. To shed light on the good and the bad. He had gifted you with His Word. The Word that flavors and preserves. The Word that enlightens all who hear. The Word that spreads God's reign from this place to every point on the globe. Amen.