Seeing the world through a theological lens...
Luke 14: 34-35
“Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
There was a period of about 15 years when my family were members of a Southern Baptist Congregation in Central NJ. (Yes, there is such a thing!) I didn't realize it then, as I had grown up Presbyterian, but the church was pretty progressive as SBC's go. Though the Pastor was male, there were a host of female leaders, including a female minister in training from a local seminary. My faith grew during our season there in ways I can not measure.
Bible studies and adult Sunday school classes were rich; no one shied away from difficult texts, in fact we jumped into them with both feet. What's more, we discussed their real-life application- in other words- how the scripture was relevant to, and could be lived out in Christian living. Discipleship was serious. Prayer was a part of every church gathering. And there were expectations for church members.
"Being a Christian Is hard work," said the pastor. "When you answer the call of Christ, you change the way you live, the way you raise your children, the way you spend your time, and the way you spend your money. You become salt and light to the world in how you live it out."
The people of the church lived it out. We congregated at least three times per week; Sunday Morning worship, Sunday Evening worship, and Wednesday Evenings for supper (yes, we had supper together every Wednesday) followed by group meetings, youth clubs, and choir practice. We hosted picnics and group outings and holiday parties and barbecues. Our kids trick or treated together and went to camp and did homework in the church kitchen. It was community in all the best sense of the word.
But living it out meant more than going to church and being with church people. Discipleship meant the stuff that happened in between 'church' times. We were to be intentional about trying to live as salt and light in the world. Like salt, Christians enhance the flavor, richness, body, of who and what is already around us. Like salt, we bring out the best in each other, in the people we meet, and bring our best to the situations we encounter. We bring it with a peaceful spirit. We bring it with sincerity. We bring it with hands on help and healing. We bring it with compassion and presence. We bring it- we add it- always to uplift, always to encourage, always to empower.
As Jesus leads this movement of radical love forward into the world, he gives a metaphor his followers can relate to- in fact, they can taste it. Sometimes we leave off expectations when we talk about church membership or being a Christian. We all make so many mistakes, that many times we focus on the forgiveness part, and leave out what Christ actually expects of and hopes for us Christians. Being a disciple of Christ is more than attending church and reading personal devotions and scripture and prayer... we are expected to be salt and light to the world... we live it out.