Reflection for Sunday – February 5, 2023

Readings: Isaiah 58: 7-10; 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5; Matthew 5: 13-16 
Preacher: Patrick Fox

This Sunday the portions of Scripture we meet are about how one ought to live.  Isaiah offers a model of care for the hungry and naked and oppressed.  We are comforted by words that assure us that by acting in such a manner our light will rise from darkness and any gloomy moments will be like midday. 

Our Psalmist offers that the just person is a light in the darkness. Paul in his words to the people of Corinth—and to us—promises that our faith is not resting on human wisdom but on the love of God. That is God’s greatest power.

Finally our Gospel speaks to salt and light. I am taken by the fact that in biblical times salt was often a metaphor for wisdom. If salt loses its flavor, how can it be restored?  If we lose our sense of wisdom, how will it be restored? If our light fades and disappears out of sight, is it of any use?

Isaiah offers a plan of action. Our Psalmist points us to acting justly and Paul wants us to rest in the love of God.

Often these days that seems to be the challenge in so many ways.  We can be overwhelmed by the acts of injustice. We are told in many ways to rely on our own wiles and means of survival.

This past week we celebrated the going home of a man. His name is Matthew.  He was a presence among us for over 40 years.  Like all of us he was less than perfect.  Like many of us he faced challenges that could overwhelm us.

I would offer that he began by listening and by keeping an open Spirit and a heart willing and wanting to be just.  Did he always get it right?  Do I or we always get it right?

The wisdom of the creator God comes not in “getting it right,” but in remaining in relationship. As salt is related to wisdom, as acts are more likely to demonstrate faith, as light is not meant for us alone, so are we asked to live—and so was Matthew.

Our hope is in the Lord, who made us and who wants to be in relationship with us.  Matthew reached out for such a relationship—a relationship founded in a wisdom that is rooted in spirituality.  He is salt and  light.

He, like Isaiah, Paul and Mark, challenges us to walk in relationship, to rest in a spirituality of friendship and to share our bread, clothe those in need, reach out to the oppressed, act justly. We seek wisdom and walk with wisdom as a friend. We set our light to be seen. And we add our salt to the mix and we rest in our spiritual journey in the arms of a loving God. We ask that our brother rest in peace. We hope and work towards that same end for ourselves.

Patrick Fox
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