Date: February 5, 2017
ADD SALT TO FAST
: ISAIAH 58: 1
2; MATTHEW 5:13
GRACE COVENANT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, ASHEVILLE, NC
February 5, 2017
The Rev. Dr. Marcia Mount Shoop, Pastor
5:13 “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
5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.
5:15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel baske
t, but on the
lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
5:16 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.
5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the la
w or the prophets; I have come
not to abolish but to fulfill.
5:18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one
stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
5:19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of
the least of these commandments, and
teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but
whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceed
s that of the scribes and
Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God
A Story of Salt and Light
It’s the kind of news you don’t want to hear. She needed brain surgery. My sister,
my bright and gentle sister, had an aneurysm.
Around her ICU bed after surgery, we felt relief and joy. Things had gone so well.
My parents even headed back home, and
another sister, too. Things were moving in
a good direction.
First a horrible head ache, that nothing could relieve.
my gentle, quiet sister beca
me agitated. She wanted to get out of bed, she
couldn’t be r
easoned with. “Wha
she begged me to answer
in her sweet eyes, eyes that seem to look past me into some other dimension.
Her agitation then gave way to strange sleep. At first it was a relief, but then
like she was fading
. She was not res
just a matter of a few hours, my bright and gentle sister was seizing and we
couldn’t figure out what was going on.
Everyone was called back. We felt her slipping away.
This is a story about a lot of things
a lot of things I can’t tell
a story of
family, a story of li
ves changed forever. But most of all this is a story of salt and light.
They finally figured out that my sister’s body was in a free fall because some switch
had been flipped
maybe from extreme pain, maybe a glitc
h in the brain
to dump all the sodium in her system. And without salt, we cannot live.
Sodium levels create
they moderate blood pressure, nerve function,
of cells, muscles,
fluid levels in the body
Salt is a key ingredient
and its power comes in balancing relationships with the entire system.
tors explained that you just can’t go in and quickly replace sodium to get the
body back to a
state. You have to do it slowly, monitor
ing the relationship of
sodium to other factors in the body. Replacing sodium too quickly can cause harm
that cannot be repaired
, even death
For days she was unr
esponsive, no light in her eyes;
her body, we hoped, was slowly
recalibrating to some delicate balance that would bring her back to us.
And so we waited for salt and light.
Salt is used to preserve, to refine, to purify. And at the time Jesus spoke these words,
salt was a precious
Eating salt was with someone was a sign of friendship and loyalty.
And any cook worth their salt (!) knows that salt is a time tested way to prepare
meat for consumption.