February 9, 2014 – Epiphany 5

Epiphany 5 Feb 9, 2014 (Isaiah 58:1-1—see below2)  Matthew 5:13-20  Salt and light ******************************************************* Matthew 5:13-20 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, 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 in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ******************************************** For the first thousand years or so, Valentines’ Day was a day of remembrance for Christian martyrs, at least three of them (all) named Valentine. Emperor Claudius II tried to convert the first of these saintly Valentines to state-sponsored Roman paganism. St Valentine then tried to convert the Emperor to Christian faith – and was sent to prison and executed as a result. ‘Happy Saint Valentines Day’ was probably not a greeting given casually in our first millennia of Valentine’s Days. Centuries pass. Times change. St Valentine the Martyr Day also goes through changes. By the late middle ages Valentines Day is starting to mix and mingle with birds and bees and romantic love. The first hand-made Valentines Day cards begin to appear. Another four or five centuries pass. In the early 1800’s, as the first inexpensive postage stamps come along, soon also comes mass-produced greeting cards in England, then America. A mass-market Valentines’ Day greeting card industry springs up. The make-over of Valentines Day goes into overdrive. The rest is history… Now anyone even thinking about romantic love better be aware: get ready to be burned at the stake if you haven’t purchased proper products by February 14. Happy Valentines’ Day. And I hope this is not a good metaphor for church history… But when we were young and head-over-heels in love with Jesus, we the church were willing to climb every mountain, even risk dying for Jesus… Now it’s so much easier to go on-line and click… and text each other… Happy Valentines’s Day instead. It’s not so easy… to go up the mountain with Jesus and listen as he tells us – “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world…. I’ve come to fulfill, not abolish the law and prophets. Don’t set aside any of the law and prophets…” (including our strong message from Isaiah...

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