Part III - Have Salt In Yourselves (see also Part I and Part II)
by Pastor Bill Geis
“Have salt in
yourselves,” Jesus says (Mark 9:50). It’s a metaphor he and the Biblical
writers turn to more than once. Salt has many uses, but we’re most familiar
with its effect on food. When it comes to food, it acts in two primary ways:
it draws out flavor and it preserves freshness.
Our recent prayer walks and bicycle rides are still vivid in my mind. They were more than recreational for me. They helped me see how are prayers have motion. And when prayers have movement, they bring out flavor and preserve a freshness desperately needed in our communities.
It is evident that many people don’t see churches or Christians as positively salty. Many view us as bland and out-of-date. And then there’s the overly salty ones, that pile it on so thick that it sours the stomachs of young and infant faiths. There’s an art, a finesse, to using salt. That’s why Jesus says, “have salt in yourselves.” It all begins there with God dishing out the right portions of his salt in us. To “Meet Jesus” (as we’re fond of saying around here) is to be engaged in the kind of relationship with him that is pleasantly salted with just the right portions of God’s love and forgiveness, joy and affirmation, hope and a purpose.
One of God’s ways of salting my life is allowing me to pray in motion—to pray with my eyes open to people and places he wants me to see; to pray in the neighborhoods I travel through and for the businesses where I interact.
Are you driving by a school? Why not bless those who teach and learn there?
Eating at a restaurant? Why not bless those who work there along with your food?
Caught in traffic? Why not fret less and bless those who are feeling anxious, overwhelmed and frustrated around you?
A little salting with prayer as you move around will
preserve and flavor a whole lot!
Moses dreams of such a salty character to his people. He says in this week’s Old Testament lesson, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29). In my mind, that’s a “have salt in yourselves” kind of vision!
All this month, we’ve been engaging in salting exercises.
A new semester in adult studies.
New beginnings for Children in Sunday School.
Supporting education for Pastors.
Commissioning Fieldworker Students from Concordia University.
And now, this Sunday, we salt some more by commissioning
Mark Stapleton as a Lay Ministry Intern.
The Lay Ministry program of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is designed “to enable men and women to exercise their spiritual gifts as parish teachers, evangelists, youth workers, worship assistants, and church leaders in their congregational setting.” Mark has been studying for three years under the direction of Concordia University Wisconsin in this field. Long before his formal education or being designated, “intern,” Mark has distinguished himself as one serving with us. His calling and desire was to take another step to become a Lay Minister. The lay ministry program is broad-based in its opportunities for service. Mark’s internship will allow him to experience a variety of ministry avenues, but we will continue to enjoy his gifts that have salted us over the past several years. His work in outreach to new comers and the care of the sick has been outstanding and a blessing to this congregation for many years. He will continue to do this in his internship.
Mark is one of many examples of how St. John’s is living out Moses’ vision that all God’s people would be moved into one form of kingdom service or another. We’re committed to being a “teaching” and “sending” congregation for servants in the Lord’s harvest. We see that in the ongoing opportunities we provide for student teachers, Director of Christian Education (DCE) fieldworkers, and in the lay ministry internship program. But it’s not limited to these recognized areas of service. Kingdom service, like prayer, is constantly in motion. Each of us has a calling and the blessing to dust our world with the salt that freshens and brings out the flavor of Jesus and his Church.
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505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525 | www.sjlagrange.com
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