City on a Hill
Jesus uses simple concepts to teach profound truths. He defines his followers as salt and light: You are the salt of the earth; you are the light world (Matthew 5:13, 14). Remarkably, this is one of the first lessons Jesus gave his new followers; being salt and light isn't something that comes after we've followed him for a long timer. Rather, he calls us salt and light, and then begins the process of making us what he calls us. Salt has a preserving influence and adds flavour to bland food. Light brings illumination of things the cannot be seen. Jesus makes it plain: following him means answering his call to bring light and flavour to a world that does not know God.
Our challenge is two-fold: on one hand we are tempted to 'stay in the salt-shaker': we're quite comfortable with our saltiness but intimidated by engagement with the world. On the other hand, some folk are quite at home in engaging the world; Jesus identifies their issue as 'losing their saltiness'. And salt that has lost its flavour is really useless.
Jesus calls us to be a city set on a hill, shining his truth, his life, and his love to a world in need. The truth of Jesus is who is, what he did, and what it means for us. The life of Jesus is the ethical pattern of obedience to God he taught and modelled. The love of Christ is seen in his death in our place on the cross; we demonstrate that love through our relationships with each other.
As a church - as a community of believers - we are city set on a hill: 1) when we, as a diverse, multi-cultural community, model the gracious reconciliation God extends to us in Christ; 2) when we faithfully tell others the good news of who Jesus is, what He did, and what it means.
Together, we can be a bright and effective light for our community - a city on a hill.