Reflection Feb. 24, 2019
Isaiah 43:18-19/ Matthew 5:13-16
Let Us Build a House Together
Once there was an old king with three beautiful daughters. He decided to give the most beautiful of his three kingdoms to the daughter who loved him the most. The first daughter said, “I love you, dear father, like a dove loves good grain.” The second daughter said, “I love you as a hot summer day loves a cool breeze.” The youngest daughter said, “I love you like people love salt.” “What do you mean salt? You ungrateful child! Is this what I raised and loved you for all these years? Get out of my sight!” She was shunned from the palace. She hid in the forest and survived by collecting nuts and berries. One day, a prince from a neighboring kingdom found the princess in the forest, fell in love because of her beauty, and brought her back to his palace, and married her. Years have passed, and one day the prince asked her why her father chased her away. After listening to her, he had the idea to invite her father over for a visit, without telling him that his daughter was there. The prince served the king food with no salt. The king got upset about it. The prince said, “I heard that you don’t like salt, sire.” “Who told you that?” “Why, your daughter, sire.” And then the daughter appeared, the king shed tears of joy, and gave his most beautiful kingdom to his youngest daughter. And they all lived happily ever after.
There are so many things that are wrong in this Hungarian folk tale, which I will not mention; I just want to focus on the power of salt. We think of salt as adding flavours to our food, but it does so much more than that. It prevents food from going bad, especially when refrigerators didn’t exist. Salt even enhances the sweet flavour in sweets; so much so that salty chocolate and caramel became a thing. Salt does all this without boasting, melted and not seen.
When Jesus says we are the salt of the world, we could understand it in different ways, but the most important thing we should understand in us being the salt of the world is that we should get into the world, be melted in, and make the world better like salt prevents food from going bad. As the salt of the world, we fight social evil and heal the people. Salt is essential to us and good for a lot of things, even though too much salt can kill us according to the doctors. Salt is meant for melting, while light is meant for shining and revealing. The whole point of light is to shine so it can be seen. I remember the story of a Christian man during WWII who saved hundreds of Jewish children’s lives. He was like the salt, saving lives in secret. Then some decades later, the list of the children he saved was discovered, and his good deed was revealed through a TV program where he was invited as well as the children who were saved by him. He was invited to the show under false pretenses. They just surprised him. This event where his good deed was revealed to the world is like light. We learned about what he did and were inspired by it. As the salt of the world, we should heal; as the light of the world, we should inspire.
As the church, we are called to be the salt and the light of the world. Today, we will have our Annual General Meeting. You might feel hesitant or intimidated by the idea of participating in the church leadership. The society has changed so much that we don’t know how to be the church anymore. Our United Church of Canada is going through a major change by which all the pastoral charges are affected. Actually, we are not called pastoral charges anymore; we are now communities of faith. In this time of change and confusion, what we need the most is a new vision for our ministries. For a new vision, we need to trust in God more. Let us trust in God who is doing a new thing; God who makes a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Let us not fret and be anxious because God helps and delivers, as we read in Psalm 37. With our meeting today, let us trust God, pray for a new vision, pray for our leaders, and support our leaders and our ministries with our love for God. Let us build a house together where all are welcome and the members live as salt and light in the world into which God sends us.
Rev. Sunny Kim