13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16, The Message)
I got to celebrate Holy Communion today with some of our body. I am getting to celebrate it more often this Lent, and I’m grateful for that. As we gathered to receive the Lord’s Supper we focused on the one loaf made of so many diverse grains and the juice (or wine) produced by the pressing of so many individual grapes. That is how the Body of Christ is, so many grains and grapes forming one loaf and one cup – oneness and unity. Not only that, we are to be that loaf and cup for the world. We pray in my tradition, Lord, “Make this be for us the body and blood of Jesus Christ that we might be for the world the Body of Christ redeemed by His blood.” We are to be broken and poured out for the world that it might taste and receive the grace of God.
This goes right along with what we have been hearing from Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, the images of salt and light. Eugene Peterson puts it in such fresh language above. “You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth”…”You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.”
One winter when I was in seminary, our hand-me-down dryer finally bit the dust. It was beyond repair. There was snow and ice on the roads, the air was moist and cold, our townhouse was drafty, and we were new parents trying to add the needs of a three-month-old to our own. To top it all off, I was in the throes of final exams. I was about to lose it. I mean it. At one point, I’m pretty sure I was crying over a clothes dryer. I was hanging my newborn’s clothes, my wife’s, and my own on anything I could find, filling every door frame with hangers as the drafty air of the townhouse fought to dry out the soaked freezing laundry. (When they were finally dry, the clothes weren’t much fun to put on either, opening like stiff paper bags). It was in this dank and dreary crisis that I decided to make an S.O.S. call to a Christian friend.
We found a used dryer on Craigslist we could afford for $75, and he chuckled as he reassured me, “Trust me. This is going to be okay!” The dryer was out in the boonies in a town I was unfamiliar with miles away through the snow and ice. “Let me drive you,” my friend said, “it’ll be fun.” Long tale short, my friend completely elevated my mood. He was a little further down the path of marriage and fatherhood, and he reassured my doubts and fears of failure. He made an adventure out of a crisis as we had the best ride through Nowhere Land in his little white pickup truck, and what a diversion during exam week! Most of all, he reminded me to keep faith. He was salt-seasoning and light that brought God-seasoning and God-colors into a distasteful and dismal situation. That fellow member of the Body redeemed by the Blood gave his time and energy to be broken and poured out into a drained soul who needed a refill. For that saint who probably thought he wasn’t making a huge sacrifice, I still glorify my Father in heaven.