Sunday Thoughts – 2/6

The Dead Sea on a rough day, with salt deposit...
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The estimable Dr. Linville – who is a great guy to take a walk with in downtown Atlanta – has put together program for the day we Bibliobloggers take our show on the road.

As part of the lectionary readings today (We had the lectionary first, contrary to what Jeremy might say) we read the words of Christ to the disciples regarding salt and light,

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world– like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Mat 5:13-16 NLT)

Interesting enough, the Pastor preached on ‘Being Salt’ …. which completely destroyed my planned Sunday School lesson. (Our regular teacher wasn’t there, so I was asked to fill in) I thought that he did a great job – duh – on the salt portion, and it deflated what I had worked up. Honestly, I guess after reading the title of the sermon, ‘Be Salt’, I should have figured that he wasn’t going to talk about Light. Oh well..

Here are my notes –

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The notion that Israel was meant to be God’s singular voice to the world, an example, was prevalent during this time. We see this expressed at the highest point in Isaiah and Amos. They were given justice and the divine oracles as an example to the other nations. Were there failing. Here, Christ is speaking to the fact that His new community would be this new light and this new salt.

Elisha healed the unwholesome water by means of salt (2 Kings 2:20)

5.13 Although the salt recovered from impure salt substances taken from the Dead Sea could dissolve, leaving only the impurities behind, the point here is closer to that expressed by a rabbi at the end of the first century. When asked how one could make saltless salt salty again, he replied that one should salt it with the afterbirth of a mule. Being sterile, mules have no afterbirth, and he was saying that those who ask a stupid question receive a stupid answer. Real salt does not lose its saltiness; but if it did, what would you do to restore its salty flavor—salt it? Unsalty salt was worthless.

5:14. Jewish tradition considered Israel (Is 42:6; 49:6) and Jerusalem (as well as God and the law) the light of the world. The ―city‖ here may thus be Jerusalem; or it may be any elevated city at night, whose torch lights would make it visible to the surrounding countryside.

5:1516. The small wicker oil lamps of this period gave little light in the average home, which had few windows; they would be most effective by being set on a lampstand. Something large placed over them would presumably extinguish the light altogether.

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The dignity of the disciples of Clirist is expressed by a twofold figure: as a spiritual salt, they are to season humanity and preserve it from moral corruption; and as a spiritual light, they are to be to humanity what the physical sun is to the world. By the first metaphor they are characterized as a power of life; by the second, as a power of fight. The first includes the negative idea of preserving the world from insipidity and from decay; the second is purely positive. (Tholuck)

A medieval commentator wrote,

Moreover, salt is changed into another kind of substance by three means, water, the heat of the sun, and the breath of the wind. Thus Apostolical men also were changed into spiritual regeneration by the water of baptism, the heat of love, and the breath of the Holy Spirit. That heavenly wisdom also, which the Apostles preached, dries up the humours of carnal works, removes the foulness and putrefaction of evil conversation, kills the work of lustful thoughts, and also that worm of which it is said their worm dieth not. (Remigius)

Is it me, or does Remigius seem to miss the boat on salt not changing…

This week looks to be a less than terribly busy week. Good. I need it. Classes have started again, as you can tell. I have a review to post tomorrow, as well as a few more lined up.

Plus, continuing with Egypt.

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