by Rev. Gordon Matheson (Sleat & Strath Free Church of Scotland)
Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is often viewed as a call to be salt and light. But Matthew’s Greek rendering of Jesus’ words is in a present tense: “You already are,” not “You should become.” The presence of God’s Kingdom, of people filled with God’s Spirit, among the nations of the earth already has the preserving action of salt. The radiance of the Kingdom’s citizens – reflecting the radiance of the King himself – already brings light into the dark places of the world. This is one reason why Christians should be confident to pursue careers in public service. Vocations such as medicine, law, social work, politics, policing, or education provide great opportunities to serve our communities. They also offer opportunities to influence society for good, through helping to shape policy. But these are increasingly difficult spheres for Christians to be confident speaking into – so toxic and divisive has public debate become.
One example is in politics. In the coming weeks political parties will be gearing up for the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary Election; constituency candidate selection will be getting underway before campaigning begins in earnest. It might be easy for Christians to shy away from participation, let alone putting themselves forward for party selection. But Christians in politics, as in other areas of public service, already are salt and light. Scottish politics, just like every other sphere of life, needs more Spirit-filled, Kingdom people who can lead with gracious and wise speech, even when there are disagreements on the jagged edges of political issues.
God of Heaven and Earth, we rejoice in the Lordship of Jesus. We rejoice in your desire to bless this world, through the salt and light of your people scattered among it.
We see around us so much evidence of brokenness and need because of sin – and we must confess our shortcomings: we have hidden our light, allowed our saltiness to diminish.
May the Good News of Jesus give us a sense of security to be salt and light in our society, particularly where there are opportunities to lead. May you raise up men and women, filled with a spirit of wisdom and revelation, to serve across our society. May your Holy Spirit stir up local churches, and parachurch organisations alike, to equip your children with a worldview rooted in the truths of the Bible, while branching out to bless the nations. May the Church in our land, and particularly believers serving in the public sphere, share in the promise given to Abraham: bless us, so that we will be a blessing to all the nations.
We thank you, that you have done this before, and we look to you in expectation.
In Jesus’ name,
Gordon has recently launched a new podcast called 'Free Voices' which discusses the Christian Worldview in the context of contemporary Scotland.
Article originally posted on Evangelical Alliance UK Website.