Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Brothers and sisters,

The purpose that Jesus calls us to be His disciples is to tell others that grace and truth cometh by Him. He calls His disciples the ‘salt of the earth’ and not the people of the world. The world is but a place that is morally and spiritually rotten to the core. As Christians, we are not only protected by the Lord against the rotting influence of the world but we should live in such a way that no one can fault us for any misconduct and misbehavior. The world should see us walking right, standing right and living right against every form and appearance of wickedness.

1. Christians are not what the world may sum up to be dull and boring people. On the contrary, Christians can spice up and can add flavour to a dull and sinful world because they have an abundant life that the world knows nothing about.

2. If salt can make one thirsty, Christians can be used of God to make others thirsty for an everlasting life in Christ. And only Jesus and no other can satisfy our thirst, John 4:14—“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” However, Christ’s mentioning of salt losing its saltiness is a warning to His disciples about the danger of losing their testimony and witness to the truth. Salt that has lost its savour will be good-for-nothing, so a Christian who loses his testimony will not be effective for anything. Thus far, how are we as salt that God wants us to be?

3. It is to be consistent to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has called us to a holy life. We will fail miserably trying to win people to Christ if we remain but the same as them. If Christ has not changed us, why should we want people to be like us? If Christianity has not made the difference in us, why should we want others to be different?

4. It is to be consistent with who and what we are and that is not to pretend to be who or what we are not capable of becoming. Christians are to be as upfront to others as possible: that we are also of the flesh and blood like them. In times of sorrow, there are opportunities to tell them that we have hope in Christ; in times of conflict we can show others how we can forgive and forget. It is never easy to be the salt of this world: you can either be an influence to others with your saltiness or to be cast down and to be trodden under foot by men when you have lost your savour.

Brothers and sisters, let us be salt to spice up others’ lives; to make others thirsty; to strive for holy living and to be unpretentious and as disciples worth their salt.

T is for Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand

I’d like to share this majestic hymn and its composer John Dykes with you.

Ten thousand times ten thousand
in sparkling raiment bright,
The armies of the ransomed saints
throng up the steeps of light;
’Tis finished, all is finished,
their fight with death and sin;
Fling open wide the golden gates,
and let the victors in.

What rush of alleluias
fills all the earth and sky!
What ringing of a thousand harps
bespeaks the triumph nigh!
O day, for which creation and
all its tribes were made;
O joy, for all its former woes
a thousandfold repaid!

O then what raptured greetings
on Canaan’s happy shore;
What knitting severed friendships up,
where partings are no more!
Then eyes with joy shall sparkle,
that brimmed with tears of late;
Orphans no longer fatherless,
nor widows desolate.

Bring near Thy great salvation,
Thou Lamb for sinners slain;
Fill up the roll of Thine elect,
then take Thy power, and reign;
Appear, Desire of nations,
Thine exiles long for home;
Show in the heaven Thy promised sign;
Thou Prince and Saviour, come.

At age 12, Dykes became assistant organ ist at St. John’s Church in Hull, where his grandfather was vicar. He studied at Wakefield and St. Catherine’s Hall in Cambridge, where he was a Dikes Scholar, President of the Cambridge University Musical Society, and earned a BA in Clas sics. In 1848, he became curate at Malton, Yorkshire. For a short time, he was canon of Durham Cathedral, then precentor (1849-1862). In 1862 he became Vi car of St. Oswald’s, Durham. Later, he named a son John St. Oswald Dykes, and one of his tunes St. Oswald.

Dykes published sermons and articles on religion, but is best known for composing over 300 hymn tunes. In his music, as in his ecclesiastical work, he was less dogmatic than many of his contemporaries about the theological controversies of the day—he often fulfilled requests for tunes for non-Anglican hymns. In addition to his gift for writing music, he played the or gan, piano, violin, and horn.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy, Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity!

“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,” read Reginald Heber’s widow. Among her dead husband’s papers she found the words of one of the most powerful and beautiful hymns ever written. But years would pass before the lines took their place in worship services around the world.

In 1861, a publisher rediscovered the words. He asked John Bacchus Dykes to furnish him with a tune. It made sense for him to turn to John who had a natural aptitude for music (he graduated with a music master that same year). John had been a church organist since he was ten years old and was co-founder and president of the Cambridge University Musical Society.

John accepted the words. Within thirty minutes he wrote the tune ‘Nicea’, which carried the praise of the Trinity to Christians everywhere.

The year after he composed this famous tune, John was appointed vicar of St. Oswald. This put him in charge of a parish. He was 39 and had already held several lesser church posts. John’s people came to love him.

Nonetheless, in addition to his regular duties, he managed to write over 300 hymn tunes. These included some for our favourite hymns, such as “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” and less familiar songs such as “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand” and “Lead, Kindly Light”.

Worn out with his labours and constant friction with his bishop, John died 22 January, 1876. He was just 53 years old. Those who loved and admired him, raised £10,000 to support his widow and children.

I do this day in the presence of God and my own soul re new my covenant with God and solemnly determine henceforth to become his and to do his work as far as in me lies.