Feb 5, 2017 message "U R", based on Matthew 5: 13-16 and Isaiah 58: 1-9
When people text today, they don’t often don’t use proper language we used to.
So they do things like….’BTW’ (by the way)…. or…. ‘IMO’ (in my opinion).
A new one I just discovered but didn’t get at first is ‘TY’,….(thank you).
The one I like is ‘LOL’ (laugh out loud,…. which can also be…. lots of love).

So I got an easy one for us this morning that I want you to remember - 
Here it is - ‘U R’, which pretty obviously is simply good for ‘You Are’.
I got those letters to show you from Little Chiefs pre-school here at church. 
Because I want us to remember this morning those two words - you are.  

Those words are important because Jesus used them twice in today’s Gospel.
First he says to his disciples that “You are the salt of the earth”.
Then he tells them that “You are the light of the world”.

Note; he didn’t say, ‘I want you to be”…or… ‘‘You should try to be’.
No!   He said “YOU ARE (U, R) the salt of the earth”!
YOU ARE the light of the world”!
That means its not something you aspire to become or a goal he gives us.
He simply states it as a fact - “U R the salt of the earth,…light of the world”.

Now let’s consider what those things, those metaphors he uses, mean.
Salt was primarily used for two things in Jesus day.
Salt kept meats from going bad and enabled them to stay good and eatable.
Without salt, meats would rapidly become rotten and go bad.

Salt was also was a flavor enhancer to make foods more pleasing.
They didn’t have spice racks with a variety of flavors in those days.
So salt was a key ingredient to make your food,…and, thus, life,… a little better.

Now light, obviously, helps bring attention to the things around us.
Otherwise, we only see and focus on what is in our immediate area.
Without light, our perception and understanding is very limited.

Light also helps to lead people to see where they are going.
It’s a guide on the path through the darkness that otherwise can leave us lost.
Otherwise, in the dark we’re limited and become timid or do damage to ourselves

So how do we translate those things into everyday actions and ways of living?
Well,…when U R salt of the earth, you help preserve ‘the good’ vs ‘the bad’.
When you are salt, you enhance the flavor of life for others.
 That is especially good for those who’s lives really need some enhancing.

When U R the light of the world, you bring attention to what is otherwise missed.
You can help draw the focus to people and situations that need to be seen.
And when U R the light of the world, you can be a leader to others in the dark.
You bring a guidance of goodness to help those in the darkness parts of life.
The prophet Isaiah tells us in our other reading today, what this can look like.
He says that God doesn’t really want people’s religious rituals so much.
He wants us “to loose the bonds of injustice”,… that is, shed light towards justice
“(help) the oppressed”,….. that is, shed light on their plight. 
to lift burdens from people’,… that is, guide them through sorrow or mourning.
to share your bread with the hungry”,… bring good to prevent the bad of hunger.
when you see the naked, to cover them”… preserve dignity and protect them.

Then”,..he says,.. “your light shall break forth like the dawn”.
Then, Jesus says “your light shine(s) forth before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”.
Those are the words we use in Baptism, when God first makes us His.
When God first begins to make you “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”. 

How U R carry out the fact that U R salt and light is really up to you.
You can do it in formal ways, in giving, or just in how you live your daily life.
But since U R “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”. 
Being such is living out the covenant of our Baptism into Christ Jesus.

We don’t do such things because Jesus tells us to or to get credit from God.
We don’t do them out of obligation or because we’re supposed to.
We do them because that is who and what Jesus says U R.
It’s not a goal, but like that Geico commercial says;….’it’s what you do’.

Jesus blesses us with God’s care, forgiveness, and salvation.
He does that for two very good reasons.
One is because he loves us and wants us to be at peace and happy in life.
But also he gives those gifts to make you who U R - his salt and light in the world

To be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” is just who U R.
That’s, according to Jesus; and he can't be wrong…..right?