MATTHEW THE TAX-COLLECTOR and Thomas the doubter. Peter the Rock and Judas the traitor. Mary Magdalene and Lazarus’s sister Martha. And the popcorn-eating old woman. And the fat man in the pick-up. They are all our family, and you and I are their family and each other’s family, because that is what Jesus has called us as the Church to be. Our happiness is all mixed up with each other’s happiness and our peace with each other’s peace. Our own happiness, our own peace, can never be complete until we find some way of sharing it with people who the way things are now have no happiness and know no peace. Jesus calls us to show this truth forth, live this truth forth. Be the light of the world, he says. Where there are dark places, be the light especially there. Be the salt of the earth. Bring out the true flavor of what it is to be alive truly. Be truly alive. Be life-givers to others. That is what Jesus tells the disciples to be. That is what Jesus tells his Church, tells us, to be and do. Love each other. Heal the sick, he says. Raise the dead. Cleanse lepers. Cast out demons. That is what loving each other means. If the Church is doing things like that, then it is being what Jesus told it to be. If it is not doing things like that—no matter how many other good and useful things it may be doing instead— then it is not being what Jesus told it to be. It is as simple as that.
~ Frederick Buechner, Listening to your Life
Thinking about salt and light as they pertain to a life of faith… Jesus told his followers that they were “the salt of the earth”, “the light of the world.”
But the point of salt isn’t to eat it by the heaping spoonful. (“Mmm. This salt is delicious. Could I have another spoonful please?”) It is to enhance the flavor, bring taste to food, and allow us to appreciate and delight in what we eat (even if it’s brussel sprouts.)
The point of light isn’t to dazzle and blind. (“Gosh it’s dark out here. Can you shine that spotlight in my eyes? Thank you! I’m so glad you brought a light on this camping trip…”) It is to show us the world around us – to allow other’s eyes to see the world as it is.
You are the salt of the earth.
Gather it together in heaps lest it be polluted;
keep it in the jar.
Let society rot in its sin and be redolent in its putrefaction
the saints pristine in their whiteness shall be gathered together as a memorial pillar to me.
You are the light of the world.
Guard it carefully lest the darkness put it out.
Build a beautiful shrine for the lamp of God
where it may be kept safe for you to admire.
Do not take it out into the storm to look for the lost:
the wind might blow it out.
Let the lost look out for themselves
– if they are lucky they will see the chinks of light through the shutters and try to come in.
You shall be my witnesses,
so witness faithfully, on Sundays, come what may, and at as many meetings as you can
give money, make long prayers, sing hymns, and listen to sound sermons.
Teach my lambs, in particular, to get their priorities right
and keep the fold nice and tidy:
then it will be easy to find you when I come back, already gathered
from the rest
and glorifying God in your holiness.
You are my body.
Treat it gently, keep it warm,
make sure it gets enough to eat and lives respectably.
Keep it out of politics of course and the crush of the common people.
Avoid confrontation with the realities of evil.
One crucifixion was enough.
~ Muriel McNair (via ~ Prayers and Creeds)