Sunday, March 24, 2013

At today's vestry meeting we pondered the idea of being salt and light. This time, I read a particular phrase differently than I had before:

Matthew:5-15 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.

Previously I've just envisioned a basket being plopped on top, and the light being blocked. But for the first time I realized how ridiculous it would be to do what is described. Not simply because it would nullify the purpose of the lamp and waste a precious resource, but because it would be downright dangerous.

What happens if you put a basket over a flame?

Depending on the weave, the fire could go out. There might not be enough oxygen to keep it going. But if the flow of O2 is good the basket could easily catch fire. And the house, which should instead have been filled with light, could be destroyed.

If your salt loses it's saltiness, it is thrown away. Trampled. Returned to dust. Lost.

If your light is hidden under a bushel, your entire existence can be put in jeopardy. Turned to ash. Lost.

So don't do it. Don't hide your light.


Dance in being.

Add saltiness, and live.


Ike said...

This is a picture that our Lord gives of the Christian in the world... the function of the believer in the world. If I could reduce it to one word... it would be the word 'influence.' Our Lord is saying that the Christian who lives according to the Beatitudes is going to influence the world as salt and light. In all that a person does and is (or is not)... the sum total of our character... consciously or otherwise... affects other people. Philosophers have put it this way... "No man is an island."

One of my favorite stories in Greek mythology is recorded by Dr. Biederwolf in a rather old book, and this is what he says. "The story is told in mythology of a goddess who came unseen but was always known by the blessings she left in her pathway. Trees blackened by forest fires put forth new leaves as she passed by. In her footprints at the brookside, violets sprang up. The stagnant pool became a spring of sparkling water; the parched fields blossomed as the rose, and every hillside and valley blushed with new life and beauty when she passed.

"The story is also told of another beautiful princess, who was sent as a present to a particular king. About her was an atmosphere as sweet-smelling as the garments of Aphrodite. She seemed as beautiful and as pure as if fresh from a bath of dew, and her breath was as sweet perfume of the richest rose. But, strange enough, in the atmosphere that she carried about with her was the contagion of death. From her infancy, this beautiful woman had known no food but poison. She had been reared on it, and had become so permeated with it that she herself became the very essence of it. She would breathe her fragrant breath into a swarm of insects, and behold, they lie dead at her feet. She would place the loveliest flower upon her bosom and lo, it would fade and fall apart. Into her presence came a hummingbird; it fluttered, poised a moment, shuddered, and fell dead."

How like this poisoned princess is every man whose influence is a blight, a curse upon his fellow men. "We live," says Biederwolf, "and the atmosphere we exhale is richly laden with the fragrance of virtue or with a poisonous perfume that consumes the people around us." One other writer put it this way, "You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day, by deeds that you do and words that you say. Men read what you write, whether faultless or true. Say, what is the gospel according to you?"


Suzanne Marie DeWitt said...
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Suzanne Marie DeWitt said...

I love the beatitudes... they are so comforting.

The Greek goddess tale is lovely! Perhaps she is Wisdom?

You offer a great summation at the end. I've been thinking about how prideful I remain in my "right" view of Christianity, and how judgemental I am of those who get it "wrong". Breathing out poison when I should be a life bearer.

Hopefully I'll do better this year.