05 August 2011

Reanimation or Rejuvenation: Calling the Salt of the World

Hello, dear ones!

I have returned from my vacation, though the discernment continues.  Thank you much for your prayers!  Now on to today's post.
One of the radio shows now turned podcast that my husband and I enjoy on a regular basis can certainly get a little strange.  The visual aids for one of their recent shows includes a couple of videos from YouTube of headless animals' cells being activated by salty solutions.  In the first video, a headless squid dances in the sushi bowl after soy sauce is poured over the legs.  Most of the squid is still in tact, but it is missing the head of the central nervous system.  In the second video, the lower half of a frog still moves and the muscles twitch when salt is sprinkled on it.  It was a fascinating (and rather disgusting) thing to observe.

When my husband suggested that I create a post about zombie animals, I didn't know what I would write about, but very quickly I thought about Jesus' observation that we are the salt of the world.  Is this what He meant?  Are we simply called to be sprinkled in order to keep the muscles of creation animated until He returns?  Is pouring  ourselves into a disconnected congregational reality the best use of our saltiness?

I wonder if we at all like the disconnected muscles in the videos.  Do we act simply on impulse or are we actively participating in the rejuvenation of the world?  Perhaps the answer to the either-or question is a very simple "yes".  Depending on where we are in the history of the Church, and depending on the circumstances in which we find ourselves individually, we may be contributing to either end of the equation.

I know that I have had times of simply "keeping things going" in my ministry.  We all go through dry spells.  Even the Church as a whole has had several instances where we have acted as though severed from our Christ-head, and been acting wholly out of impulse and reactivity.  Perhaps you can identify some similar activity in our midst today?  The word of hope, dear ones, is that there is One who is actively working to restore our connections, bringing wholeness and healing so that we can live in the fullness of New Life.

Dear ones, the context of Jesus' identification of His followers as salt and light comes in the midst of a passage regarding persecution.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  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.
It's not really we who are the salt and light, is it?  Our brothers and sisters throughout the earth who are being persecuted, tortured and killed on account of their faith in Jesus: these are the ones who are the salt of the earth.  We, however, who live in a time and place where persecutions such as this are not happening every day, we have the calling to heal, to shine and to do the works of Light.  What can we do to help reconnect the world with Christ who is the head of all?

If we do nothing, when the salt of the earth is poured out, all that will happen will be a momentary reaction, and then the world around us will return to a state of lethargy and death.  If, on the other hand, we work together for the purposes of restoration, healing and unity, then the persecution and the deaths of the martyrs will not be forgotten.  In time, blood will cease to be spilled and the fullness of the love of God will be known to all.

Spirit of Peace, breathe new life into us in Jesus' name.  Speak to us and grant us wisdom and visions for the rejuvenation of the world.  Beloved, fill us with courage to stand up for the things that are most beneficial for Your coming Kingdom.  Creator of all, we pray for the re-formation of our hearts, minds and spirits so that the world around us will come to know that You, o Lord, are God.  Help us to know You more, to love you more and to freely share You with the world.  In Jesus' name, amen.

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