The following Bible verses will be read by Christians around the world next Sunday who follow the ecumenical lectionary agenda:
I want to comment here on the Old Testament Reading and the New Testament Reading:
Isaiah gives a shout out to his people. His focus is on the worship practices of the Hebrew people. Consider that he is pointing out that the system to which his people have committed their lives needs to be reformed. They have committed their lives to unreflective ritual, not realizing what they are doing. They are fasting regularly without their hearts being into it. And they have completely forgotten the source of their worship, a divine power whose primary bent is toward the helpless, homeless, poor, and outcast.
Will this happen this Sunday, again, in our Christian Churches? Will we worship without reflection, only following the ritual? Will our minds remember the homeless, and helpless? Will we pray for the Syrian refugees? Will our offerings include something for those our nation has branded as outcasts? And when we go home from church, what will we do? Call a congressperson asking them to resist the system? Volunteer time at a Homeless shelter? Donate food to the Food Closet? Make a contribution yo the International Rescue Committee or ACLU? Let it be so.
Matthew uses the metaphor of salt in a fascinating way. Salt was used in new testament times as a catalytic agent to burn dung for cooking fires in their homes. The salt caused something to burn. He was inciting his young, new Christians to to start a fire, to set things a-burning.
Those of us who dare call ourselves Christians, are we thinking of ourselves as fire setters? Are we committed to to the cause begun by Jesus with a burning passion? Or have we lost that catalytic agency? Perhaps we can’t even burn the dung. Who will throw us out to be trampled in the muddy road?