Salt & Light
When I first agreed to preach today, I thought, sure I can do a children’s homily for youth Sunday, I have taught kids for a long time. Then I remembered I had to do both services, which meant an adult message as well. With the children, we will talk about what Jesus means when He says “Don’t hide your light under a bushel basket.” But there was more that resonated with me so I hope it will hit the right chord for you as well.
In the gospel, Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, then it is worthless and is thrown out and trampled underfoot.” It got me thinking about salt not just as a seasoning but also as an essential preservative in those times. So being called “the salt of the earth” while acknowledging salt may lost its taste reflects both a level of importance to His message but also a sense of urgency.
Both readings today touch on God given gifts. What does that look like in each of us? What gifts have you been given and how do you let them shine through to the world? When I taught Confirmation many years ago, the class focused on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety, & Fear of the Lord (which I taught more as Awe or Wonder in the Lord). What the gifts meant and how we use them was a challenging concept for 10th graders. But I suspect as adults, we can all cite examples of how 1 or more of these gifts has manifested itself in us over the years.
But what about right now? I wonder, in today’s world, has the salt lost some of its taste? Has our light become dimmer, if not hidden entirely? Between the pandemic, the divisions in our country, senseless gun violence, the ongoing war in Ukraine, etc. etc., I feel like I could add something to that list every day. We are tired, discouraged, and maybe feeling we can’t make a difference. We don’t have the wherewithal to shine our light for others. And what do we risk if we continue down this path? Similar to if the salt loses its taste and perhaps its ability to preserve, what does the future look like if we all become complacent and continue to focus our gifts inward? If we all think someone else will carry the load, what happens if no one carries the load? The sense of urgency I mentioned is as paramount today as it was then.
To me, today’s readings served as a reminder. A reminder that every day I have an opportunity to make a difference, an opportunity to be that light for others. Every day I come in contact with co-workers, preschool teachers, kids, youth, service providers, the drive-through server at Starbucks, the person I pass on the street, and of course my family members. Who do they see? Do they see someone who is discouraged and beaten down by life, or a follower of Christ with God given gifts we use for the benefit of all? Each interaction is a microcosm of our relationship with God’s people where we CAN make a difference, one person at a time, one day at a time. These readings renewed my hope that it can get better if we can all let our light shine through. It is not easy and a challenge for sure, but this week I hope we can all ask ourselves, who do people see in me?
— Janie Piemonte, Parishioner & Parish Administrator
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The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog
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