"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16)
We learned from Genesis that when God created the world, God gave a purpose for everything God had created. The sun was made to rule the day and the moon to rule the night. They are also to be signs for seasons, days and years. The human race was made in God’s own image to have dominion over all creatures upon the earth. There is purpose for all existence, purpose for things which have happened and purpose for things we do. What happens when the sun or the moon stop shining their light, or when we stop working?
Everything would include the church and the people in it. The church is God’s creation and its purpose is to be salt and light of the world. What happens if the church loses its saltiness and light? The sun may stop shining and the moon may become dark, but the church of God will never stop shining its light. In this challenging year we may think we have lost our quality of being salt and light. We have not. As I listen to pastors and read our Enews, UM News and others, churches are doing great things, even things they have never done before. One example is Peace UMC in Brookfield with the UM Foundation and other churches that pulled together to raise $28,946; so far $13,380 was used to clear over $3 million in medical debt. In August members and friends of the Trempealeau UMC sewed more than 2,000 face masks and donated them to the Northwest Region of the Wisconsin State Patrol. Just two are mentioned, but churches continue to provide food delivery, monetary donations, Bible study, confirmation class, prayer time, worship, both online and offline, and all kinds of outreach and community ministries.
In times of stability or times of difficulty, as the church of God who we are, may we never ever lose our shining light and saltiness. I can think of three essential ingredients in being salt and light in the world. We can live a transforming life, being positive and useful, loving and caring, that others may be transformed. We can be agents of transformation or participate in its process such as in the examples above. Making disciples of Jesus Christ, which is our purpose, involves the responsibility of transforming life that begins with us—our saltiness and shining light. Our greatest opportunity to shine and be salt is today. Seize it, take each moment as they come, for the glory of God.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.