For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting some devotional reflections on art.
And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
I love the hands in this image; they form the world and they are carefully cupping or tending the world as well. Jesus sends us out into the world to proclaim the good news; part of that means that we are called and sent to care for all of creation. As we approach Lent, how can we best do this at Hope?
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20a
This painting, by Australian Aboriginal artist Cassie Leatham is entitled “Over Time We Come Together.” It has many motifs of Aboriginal art—bold lines, geometric patterns, earth tones. The hands draw our attention, but so does the sun at the center. This makes me think of God using our hands and our voices and our feet and our bodies to reach out to all creation with a message of reconciliation. Reconciliation can be writ large or small. Can you share a kind word or a smile today or tomorrow with someone as God’s ambassador of reconciliation? How can we at Hope serve as ambassadors of reconciliation through our service and our welcoming of others?
One way to understand what Jesus is saying here is to think about why salt is so important. In ancient times, it was so valuable that Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt. The Latin for salt is sal, and that’s where we get our word “salary.” It was so valuable because we NEED it to live. Animals need salt licks to get salts and other minerals, and humans need salt for our bodies to work. If any of you are Sci-fi nerds like me, you might remember the original Star Trek episode with the Salt Creature, who so craved salt (missing from her environment) that she would kill to get it. Salt is foundational; we need it to live.
So what does this mean for us? What does it mean to be salt to the world? I think it means that we can’t just disappear into the background. Our Christian witness of grace and reconciliation is so vital that we must not abandon it. The world needs us and this witness as it needs salt—sometimes to add taste to a bland existence, sometimes to bring healing (salt helps to cleanse), and sometimes to preserve life (as salt helps to preserve food.) We are the salt of the earth.
What are the ways that Hope is sent to be salt to the earth?
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good words and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Now You Are The Light Of The World And Salt Of The Earth, Lalo Gutierrez
What does it mean to be the light of the world? It’s helpful to remember that in the physical world, every form of illumination we have comes in some way from the Sun and the stars. The Sun gives energy to everything on earth, and we draw illumination from that stored energy. In the same way, our light does not come from ourselves, but is a reflection of God’s light. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians that “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” When we know God’s love, we cannot help but let that light shine. Hope has been a beacon of God’s love in the past; how can we continue to let our light shine as we are sent forward nto the next 40 years?