Love into us and love through us so that we may take part in illuminating your world, and see it as you do, as the kingdom of God
“you are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world, and oh by the way, you need to be even more righteous than the most law abiding religious folks you know.”
how is that for good news?
we say in so many ways. “Jesus I don’t want to be the salt of the earth, can I be the saffron, or the cumin of the world? can I be something fancier, something that will really make a difference?
Salt only highlights the flavors that are already there, and too much of us could ruin what God is cooking up.
No one is going to sit down at God’s heavenly banquet and say “ooh, is that Salt? what made you think of using it? how clever!”
God doesn’t really benefit all that much from getting people like us, and by people like us I mean struggling, demanding, imperfect, precious people who dream of being known for who we really are and loved anyway.
If there are any other kind of people here, I want to talk to you after the service.
we are salt for the benefit of the kingdom
and We are light for the benefit of the whole household.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
Jesus came to reveal who God has always been. the law and the prophets are just as true in Jesus’ life as they were before the incarnation. God’s heart of justice compassion and mercy are exactly the same. Jesus did not come to change anything about the law. It is the same Law. It is the law of Love.
We don’t have a Mean god of the Old Testament that Jesus came to save us from.
God is the same God who spoke the world into being with a deep longing for Justice, compassion, and revolutionary love.
God has always longed for the same thing, for us to share in the work of taking care of this unbearably beautiful world filled with unbearably beautiful people. we are not that special, and that is good news.
we are salt and we are light. salt may cease to be salty, and lights can be hidden, but God will still be God. Heaven and earth may pass away but God’s nature- God’s Law is not going to change.
God has been passing us notes all along and slipping suggestions into our bags. God has been sending her friends with maps and directions and calling us to come home into love since we started walking away.
And somehow, as smart and wonderful as we are, we didn’t get it.
Can’t you just see God, heart breaking for the world he loved into being -watching us horde and gloat. Watching some of her children starve naked on the streets while others are worried about how good they look in the eyes of their neighbors as they fast.
That was what Isaiah saw, and God speaks loud and clear through him about the true nature of fasting and the purpose of the law:
Is not this the fast that God chooses:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to let the oppressed go free,
to break every yoke?
Is it not to share our bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into our houses;
when we see the naked, to cover them?
and we still didn’t get it.
then when Jesus comes to lead the way, to take us by the hand and walk us into that promised land of self sacrificial love for our brothers and sisters, there is an expectation from the people with him then and from many of us now, saying:
“Jesus has come to take us to a new place”
and Jesus says
NO I HAVEN’T-
don’t you understand??
we are going where we were always going-
deeper into the heart of love-
We do not get a change of direction but a friend on the journey
What we get is an invitation to follow Jesus all the way into the burning heart of Justice.
This is where we were always headed and if we don’t align our hearts with this law, Jesus says we will be some of the last to see this glorious kingdom of God shining all around us.
The good news is that if we follow the old maps, if we can hear God’s pleas for love in the law and the prophets, then we will be some of the first to see the reign of Shalom and love here on Earth.
and it’s hard because we look at the map / and we look at the world and it doesn’t seem to make sense.
How can we get to a place where:
our light shall rise in the darkness
and our gloom be like the noonday.
where The LORD will guide us continually,
and satisfy our needs in parched places,
and make our bones strong;
and we shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
our ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
we shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.
this is one heck of a promise. and it’s the destination of a journey so deep and transformative that the whole world is altered.
this is God’s map. It has always been God’s map
this is the same world that Jesus is calling us into.
don’t look down on the Pharisees, their path is your path, but we have to go further, not change direction.
if you love God go deeper into the law, Be who God made you to be and you will be transformed into your truer more salty self. the whole sermon on the mount calls us to go deeper and deeper in . these are our operating instructions, this is our map, this is the recipe we get to be salt in.
Everything we need to know about God’s love for the world is already there. we are in the remedial class that needs help, and we just can’t get there by ourselves. But God will use us anyway.
When we finally take that dang bushel basket of self importance off our heads, and let the light of kindness shine, we will see that we are in and have always been in a house of peace and justice and crazy, mad love. We can help illuminate it, but we didn’t invent it.
God is just inviting us back to be who we always were.
We were made by love —
in the image of love, —–
with a boundless capacity for love. we don’t need to preach love to God, God is already Love.
God is inviting us, us! to help in the unfolding of this kingdom, so let’s accept the invitation.
– if God is reaching for a work light,
and if God is cooking up something that needs some salt,
Saint David of Wales Episcopal Church
Sunday, February 6, 2011