From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 5th Sunday after the Epiphany

Hi everyone,

A couple weeks ago I talked about our kids and the homework they get from school. For the case of one of our kids, the homework is most frequently going to be math, which isn’t exactly a favourite subject among 2/3 of our kids. And I find myself biting my tongue a lot when I try to help as I don’t want to do the work for them, but I feel like they just need a small nudge just to unlock the understanding of numbers in their heads.

It also brings me back to my days of elementary school. I wasn’t very good at math either. I understood the equations and how to solve them, but it was just my simple number facts that I struggled with. I didn’t like to simply memorize things, but I preferred to understand why things worked the way they did. So just remember what 7×7 or 6×6 would be was just a pain.

But then came the flash cards. I forced myself to go over them again and again and again. It still was painful, but I eventually memorized them, or at least for some I memorized the different tools and shortcuts that would help me figure out the answer. The number facts then helped me to figure out more complex equations as they were the basis of my math knowledge.

This is my hope for our kids, that they grasp the foundations so they can build on them to be stronger, and eventually be able to figure out the exchange rate in their head when shopping online or how much an 18% tip would be when they’re eating out. Sounds menial, but it’s important.

Here are the readings for next week:
Isaiah 58:1-9a
Psalm 112:1-9
1 Corinthians 2:1-12
Matthew 5:13-20

Here we get the famous “salt of the earth” portion of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. This part of course comes right after the Beatitudes that we got today, and so it bears to reason that they would follow the same vein… in which Jesus tells us that we are loved, we are valued, and we are worthy to be children of God. And so when Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth, he isn’t saying that we must be the salt of the earth or we need to act in a way that salts the earth, but just that we are the salt… by design and by creation. Not by our own doing but by God’s grace and blessing for us all.

But what of the the other readings? I see them as furthering our identity through the foundation of the truth of our being the salt. We are reformed by this foundation as it shapes us, leads us, and informs us of who we are and whose we are. It is through this foundation of truth and promise that we can see just how we can live together in community.

I think that is why Jesus really takes his time to drive this home. He tells us who we are, and from that we can live into that identity. Jesus reminds us of God’s grace, and so we can learn how to live as saved people. Jesus declares just how much we are loved, and we are inspired to live a life that based on that foundation of love.

We are works in progress, I know, but we continue to be loved, welcomed into God’s kingdom, and made to be the salt of the earth.

Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

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