Friday, February 3, 2017
Seldom have I met anyone in congregational life who would say, “I am the salt of the earth.” For one thing it would sound rather presumptuous if not a little strange. But as a pastor I have seen that “saltiness” at work over and over again. It is heartening for sure. It helps us to keep the faith and to live from the center of the gospel. In sharing with others in ministry I have thought to myself many times, “Surely here is the salt of the earth.” That saltiness shows itself not only in good work done but also in ways people choose to be present.
As we appreciate the giftedness of others, our idea of what it means to live out the faith is expanded. We can think of new ways we might use what is in us and before us to make a difference for others.
Not always being aware of our own individual contributions indicates the wonder of how God is always at work through us and among us. When Jesus told the disciples that they were salt and light, he was talking to them collectively, as community. So it was both about the individual and about others. He was naming what was already true! This was the starting point! This was recognition of who they were in the company of Jesus. From here he could challenge them to a greater imagination and a deeper participation in the kingdom.
The image of salt conveys what is daily, what is needed, what is zestful. While we may prefer to make the big impact, this part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount reminds us that what we share, even if it seems rather small and mostly inconspicuous, can be significant. The prophet realized this: Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up quickly (Isaiah 58:8a).
And so we look around and we take notice of the many and varied ways we share in the gospel today. While we may feel the demand to be doing more, we never lose sight of the work we are called to do daily, in our homes, in our neighborhoods and in the world.
Being in this together is what makes the church alive - full of promise and purpose!
Here in this place the new light is streaming…
Here we will take the wine and the water,
here we will take the bread of new birth,
here you shall call your sons and your daughters,
call us anew to be salt for the earth.
- ELW 532