Salt of the Earth
An e-mail from a missionary informed us last weekend that The virus is ramping down here, but now is the time when there are opportunities all around to be the salt of the earth.
That is what Jesus called us, "the salt of the earth."
How can I be that? How can I do the things for my neighbor that Jesus calls me to do? Some thoughts:
Keep in contact. Check on family members who are in the vulnerable groups. Keep watch for your neighbor. If you know of someone who needs supplies volunteer to help, pick up, buy, or share. I am actually reminded of a quote from John the Baptist, "Let he who has two rolls of toilet paper share with him who has none." OK, I know, he didn't say exactly that, but you get the idea. Watch over each other, because God has given us to each other to care for each other.
Pick up the phone and bring human contact to those who are isolated and lonely. This is part of what we need as human beings who are created in the image of God. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and we are created in His image We need community. Without community we do not do well. (Had you heard that when Tom Hanks came down with the virus the nurses in the hospital brought him a volleyball -- just like in the movie "Castaway" that he drew a face on and named it "Wilson"?)
Watching over our neighbor is part of what we call "Vocation." God invites us to share in His work, caring for, protecting, feeding, and providing for others. That is the work of God, as the Psalm says, "You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." (Psalm 145:15-16 -- read the whole psalm.)
Watching over your neighbor also means to be careful with your neighbor's health. I asked the small group gathered for Bible Study today, "did any of you take your temp before heading out to be with other people today?" This is not a thing I have heard in the suggestions and guidelines. And it is not the same as being tested. But checking yourself before being in contact with others is another part of watching over your neighbor. This is a sneaky virus, so check yourself.
AND PRAY !
Pray for one another. Pray for those who are ill. Pray for those in at-risk groups. Pray a lot.
This is not just because it is a good religious thing to do. And it is not a way of turning over all the care and providing to God. When you pray for your neighbor you are talking with God who actually knows their every single specific need. You are talking with the one who opens His hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing.
But He constantly answers prayers for one person through another. That is His pattern, involving us in His work, and in the life of God. So what do you think? Is He able to bring to your mind and help you to notice something specific that your neighbor needs, that you might have missed? Indeed and of course He can -- and does! And then you get to have your hands joined with God's hands, His thoughts mingled with your thoughts, and His work happening through your life. (And His life is eternal because He is the eternally living and eternally blessing God -- and this, by the way, is the most amazing part of life.)
Lord Jesus, during this time of crisis and confusion Lead me as my Teacher and let me be Your disciple. Help me see Your many invitations to care for my neighbor, to be made strong by Your strength, and then to be the strength in the lives of the aged, the vulnerable, for those within my care, and for all to whom You lead me. Amen.
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Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.