Salt & Light
By Fred Pruitt
There are times
when what has been taken as faith before has now become the evidence of naivete
or romanticism. We are our own accuser, defendant, judge.
(Or so it seems.)
"How long, O Lord?" the Psalmist cries. "O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee."
We imagine the worst. We've done this to ourselves. We stepped foolishly too far out onto the limb, and now our folly will be revealed. No man of God are we, no, we are beset with sorrow, discord, confusion, guilt, torment, the swirl of the opinions of men, the weight of the whole of life and all we've done and heard and known and hoped for and sorrowed over beating down on us and being a cargo beyond bearing.
I wish I could say that right then and there a big light appears out of nowhere and a truck pulls up and we win the lottery. But it doesn't happen that way. Not usually.
Welcome to the work of God.
As workers in this kingdom, you get to suffer privation, sorrow, heartache, pain, catastrophe, inconvenience, self-doubt, intellectual-doubt, emotional-doubt, is-there-a--God-doubt, as well as all the things everybody else in the world has to worry about.
There are perks in the present moment. In the present moment you know the Solid Rock. El Shaddai has spoken in the desert and you have heard Him and He has proven Himself over and over by signs and wonders. You know. He will never leave you or forsake you.
But now our joints are poured out like water. And no end seems to be in sight. And maybe we've gotten it all wrong.
When you pour salt into the soup, where does the salt go? It dissolves out of distinctiveness, and saltiness permeates the soup.
Salt does not promote itself, but instead gives savor to other things. It brings out the taste, the life. For the salt to do its job, it has to in a sense lose itself, its particular self, and become completely one with the rest of the soup.
Forgive me for sounding Kung-fu-ey here, but the analogy is true.
When the salt loses its particular-ness, it melds into the other ingredients in the soup, taking them into itself as they take the salt into themselves.
The world around us is churning with fear and trembling right now. Not one of us is for sure day by day what is the right thing to do, and there is worldwide fear and great uncertainty.
But God has not deserted us. He always leaves a remnant.
The remnant is the salt of the earth. It takes the earth into itself, as it looses its saltiness throughout all the earth.
Since we are the salt of the earth, we take the earth into ourselves, churning up and down with every wave of our own and the rest of humanity's fears and joys. It must needs be, even though we wish it were not so and we think there is something wrong with us because we experience and feel all this.
Despite all our theological training which should lead to rational-spiritual thinking, most of us think there's something wrong with us if we're feeling or experiencing "negative" things.
And that's ok, because that's all part of the process. We MUST "feel like" we're wrong. Whether imaginary or real, doesn't matter. (Hard to tell the difference anyway.)
Here is where salt and light meet. For the joy of salt is to lose itself through spreading its saltiness into everything else, and the joy of light is to shine on and show something else. All we actually truly see is light, but light reflecting off a dark body, giving it definition and shape and color.
You are the light of the world means that you by your life give the world light -- definition and shape and color. Having grown up into Him, existing in Him Who is our Head, your presence is the universal-creating fiat of the Word of God.
The movie you are in is real and serious and comedic and tragic and the script is already written but we are making it up as we go and everything counts and yet grace covers all and we will all be received in graceland.
Your life, as you are right now, is the living real expression of the Living God. Open your eyes and believe. It's okay to be afraid and to think it can't be so. Believe anyway.
In the pit of hell honesty comes. And the sum total of honesty is this: whatever we put on ourselves is vanity in some form. Vanity is swept away as a power in the coming of the Risen One Who we find to be also ourselves.
I fight it every time. But there is no life without death.
It is continuous in the present moment, but unboundedly tinged with golden light unseen to mortal eyes. Every death is precious as the seed of life it generates.
"Bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus" is part and parcel of living in this world. All humanity is a participant. How does the song go, "Heaven came down and glory filled my soul."? I think that's it.
I fear I appear morbid but I don't mean to be so. Because there's an upshot to all this. There is a lot of "death" and it seems continuous. Little or big, it's always something.
But somehow someway if you look at it just right, squint maybe a little bit & cock your head to the right or left (according to your politics), you'll just pick up a glimpse, fleeting maybe, of the all-encompassing El Shaddai, Father of All, Who is through all, in all, IS all. That glimpse, deep deep deep only in our faith, hardly by sight, is the resurrection light.
The resurrection is the power of GOD, which doesn't necessarily have visible or tangible evidence. It is the inner word of God spoken in our spirits which presses upon us as a more tangible reality than that which we can feel with our fingers or see with our eyes.
But that more tangible reality has a way of leaking out of us, by hook or by crook, because we live, yet not we, but He lives.
So be the salt of the earth, not afraid of its smells and odors and heat. It will eat you up, but you will permeate it.
And be the light of the world. You already are.
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."