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Friday, April 22, 2016

Today’s Reading | Matthew 5:11–16              

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 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 works and give glory to your Father in heaven. (NRSV)

Talk of letting light shine always calls to mind Marianne Williamson’s observation that “it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.” Some of us fear nothing more than to be called “proud” when we dare to raise our voice or use our gifts. Note well: the accusation “pride” typically says more about the one making it than the one against whom it is made.

Jesus calls upon men and women to let our God-given light shine, to season the world’s bland mediocrity with the salt of our vulnerability, and to do so without regard for the ridicule we will undoubtedly attract. In fact, Jesus says, that ridicule—reviling and cursing and all manner of trash talking—that’s where the blessing lives. As a technician tells President Bartlett’s assistant, Charlie, in a classic episode of The West Wing, “If they’re shooting at you, you know you’re doing something right.”

But let’s not mistake opposition for persecution. Inflaming peoples’ anger on purpose doesn’t make you a prophet. Instead, let’s ask ourselves on whose account we’re being opposed. On account of our own agenda? On account of The Cause?

Or are we being opposed, as Jesus so often was, on account of the poor? Are we making people mad with our speaking up for the voiceless and our shining a light on malice? Blessed are we if so. If not, then why not?

May our light shine, O God, in the darkest of places, so that all your children may be blessed with joy and light. Amen.

Written by Rocky Supinger, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry

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