13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
In other words, we are to bring flavor and brightness to the world. It’s not exactly “let your freak flag fly,” but I do think Jesus would appreciate the diversity of people in the world fully expressing themselves. Can’t you just imagine Jesus hanging out at the local library for Drag Queen Story Hour, blessing all the children and those spreading love and acceptance?
But life isn’t one big Mardi Gras parade. While I truly believe this passage is saying to not hide your light but to let it shine; to bring your own unique flavor to the world – this passage calls us to go far beyond just personal self expression. It calls us to help others to fully realize their own best selves, too. This can mean lots of things, but most of all it means activism. It means supporting girls’ and womens’ education in places where they are not currently given those opportunities. It means allowing refugees easier access to our country, so they can escape oppression and make safer and better lives for themselves. It means Autism Acceptance, an Autistic-led movement to counter basic awareness, that allows for full expression of Autistic behavior (in a safe way) and participation in society. Maybe it even means Universal Basic Income – a concept I’ll admit I have not researched much but one that does hold immediate appeal.
Yes, go be that City on the Hill. Stand up for what you believe in, especially if you are in a place of privilege – because for many, it is too dangerous for them to go to school, express their love, or even just walk down the street. We all need to work together to make this world as bright and flavorful as it can be.