Did anyone else experience this week to last around 47 days instead of the normal 7? Am I the only one who is feeling time a bit differently lately? It was a strange week. Sunday my beloved football team won the Super Bowl. And somehow, some way, I got a new title. I wasn’t aware this would happen. Those of you who have been here before failed to warn me that this happen so I blame you. But people asked me “how does it feel to win a Super Bowl championship?” This was asked of me as if quarterback Pat Mahomes himself connected to me on a long ball pass for the winning touchdown. He didn’t. But for some reason, by affiliation, I now am a Super Bowl champion. So it goes. I am also salt and light.
Then Monday came around, another Super Bowl of sorts. A Super Bowl for us political nerds: the caucuses. And if you missed the news, well… we kind of messed things up. For the record, our room of 14 didn’t mess up (because it’s hard to mess up and miscount 14 people). But the news seems to believe that everyone, all of us living in Iowa have no idea what we are doing. It doesn’t matter if you are democrat or republican or even if you caucused, we are now completely incapable of handling the first in the nation event that is a vote but not really a vote that no one outside of Iowa seems to understand. We were branded irresponsible and blamed for building doubt among voters. So it goes. We are also salt and light.
Remember, we’ve only covered 2 days. Tuesday was the State of the Union address. On social media the name calling that followed the address was sad to see. The divide that has long plagued our nation continued. People praised and cursed our president and people praised and cursed Nancy Pelosi. All the newscasters had their say and for a brief moment, all of us in Iowa got a brief respite from ruining the country. But, at the end of the night, as I tucked myself into bed, I reminded myself that every single person in the chamber listening to the President speak and the President himself is salt and light. And so are you.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday all ran together with coverage of the impeachment trial, the acquittal, the National Prayer breakfast, the corona virus, more caucus results (or not) and more name calling and finger pointing. People love to give one another titles and names simply because we don’t agree. The internet is a cesspool of colorful insults ranging from moron and idiot to things that cannot be repeated in church. I fear, my beloved, that the time of civil discourse is quickly slipping away from us and we would rather listen to argue versus listening to learn and engage. Please understand I am not saying any of you do this, but this is simply my observation on the world. Take it from me, I am a Super Bowl champion.
All of this may make you wonder if your Christian heart and Christian values have a place in this world anymore. I’ll be honest, it’s hard for me to love my neighbor when my neighbor calls me an idiot. The labels we place on others and have placed on us are not just flippant remarks, they can leave marks and only our hearts bear the scars. It’s easy to wonder if we even can make a difference in the world. And Jesus just knows what kind of balm our weary soul needs, doesn’t he? I have to imagine the disciples wondered if they could make a difference too. I mean, it’s not like these were a group of celebrities or know it alls. They had a tremendous task in front of them, following Jesus, and I have to imagine that at least one of the disciples was scared. But Jesus assured them, you are salt and light. Not you will be salt…some day. And you will be light…eventually. But already. Right now. Today. You are salt. You are light. You are already making things better just by being who you are. This is a message we aren’t hearing much these days, is it?
I don’t know if you’ve been there, but I know I have: that sinking feeling of wondering if what you’re doing even makes a difference. I wonder if what I do or say makes a difference. I wonder if God is still calling me to this amazing and crazy vocation and yet God assures me I am salt and light. I know you’ve had doubts. I can say this with confidence because if you have a pulse, you have doubts. You may have doubts about your work life, your parenting skills, your relationships, your abilities, whatever the case may be, you have doubts. If you’re lucky and like me, you may have multiple doubts. Then Jesus, man that guy has a lot of nerve, comes along and says, you are salt and light. It’s as if Jesus is saying to us, “my beloved disciples, you make things better and brighter just by being who I created you to be.”
See, no matter what names we may call each other (or ourselves for that matter) and no matter what labels get placed on us (positive or negative) it’s easy to forget that Jesus tells the disciples and us that we are salt and light. Just by the way we live our lives we are salt and light. And the way we live our lives, hopefully, is by showing Christ and being Christ to one another. We have been named and claimed by Christ. We can choose to sit out life, hoping that others will be Christ to the world, but our salt will lose its taste and our light will dim. No one ever said that being salt and light was easy. But we are the ones that God is counting on to make this world a little less corrupt, a little less ugly, and a little more loved. We are the ones that God has tapped to be kind. As I said, Jesus didn’t say it would be easy. But we are already what we need to be. We are salt. We are light. That’s even better than winning the Super Bowl.