Rev. George Miller
Date: Feb 5, 2017
Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16
In Tuesday’s paper there was an article titled “Doing Dinner On a Dime” by Leanne Ely.
As a homeowner and expectant Dad, I was curious about how to make my dollar stretch.
First thing first, according to Leanne, you are to “cook up a batch o’ beans.” Doesn’t matter which kind.
Next, make rice; long grain brown rice, which is nutritious, and preferred.
Then once you have a “big batch o’ beans and a big batch o’ rice…look at all the possibilities:”
Mexican -style beans and rice.
Jamaican -style beans and rice.
New Orleans -style beans and rice.
Southern-style greens, beans and rice.
Indian-style beans and rice.
That’s a whole week worth of meals out of one batch o’ beans and rice, so I read further.
Mexican style is with salsa, sour cream, and grated cheese with a quesadilla on the side. Nothing difficult about that.
Jamaican style was done is a saucepan with coconut milk, a pinch of thyme, clove of garlic, and green onions.
Ok- now you’re talkin’.
New Orleans style was done with olive oil, onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, thyme, and Tabasco.
Southern style with olive oil, greens, chicken stock, onion, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper.
Indian style was onion, tomato, garlic, ginger, cumin, and curry powder.
Please and thank you!!!
Just thinking about all the ways to serve rice and beans makes me hungry.
I was intrigued that the recipes were virtually the same except for a different spice here, or some extra heat there.
Coconut, cumin, chives, curry- all sound goo-oo-ood to me.
What Leanne Ely did was show how with a little bit of a twist, and a little bit of spice, you have something delicious, and you have something nice.
Today’s reading sure is something nice, isn’t it?
It is a continuation of Jesus’ 1st public speech to the people, as told by the writer of Matthew.
Jesus has climbed up the mountain, he has sat down on the dirty earth, and he has repeatedly used the word “Blessed.”
“Blessed are the meek…blessed are the merciful…blessed are the peacemakers.”
Then he goes on to tell them that they are the salt of the earth, and that they are the light of the world.
Now that’s how to share a Christian message.
Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God With Us, is sitting level with the people around him; he is sitting upon the earth and he says these wonderful words.
He makes them feel good, when the Roman government is telling them they are bad.
He makes them feel calm, although the political climate has created a chaotic world.
Jesus reassures them that they are important and unique; salt and light; flavor and hope.
I wonder: how many people needed to hear that message then, and how many need to hear this message now?
That you are important and unique; YOU are salt and light; YOU are flavor and hope.
As evidenced by the behaviors we are witnessing around us, apparently not enough people have been told that in their lifetime.
It seems as if we are living in world in which too many people have been told they were not good enough.
I wish you were a boy.
Why can’t you be more like your sister?
You’re not good at sports.
You’re not good at math.
You’re too fat.
You’re too skinny.
You’re too brown.
You’re too gay.
You’re too old.
You’re too country.
You’ve brought shame upon our family.
You’re an embarrassment to your people.
You are not a true citizen of our country.
Note that Jesus does not do any of those things.
He says “You are magnificent. You are the salt of the earth; don’t lose your flavor.”
“You are the light of the world, let your light shine, let it shine, let is shine.”
It is as if Jesus is saying to the people back then, and to all of us today:
“You are the anointed adamah of God…You are the vessel of God’s Living Waters…You are a Heavenly Creature walking on God’s Good Ground.”
You are the light of the world, so don’t hide it.
You are the salt of the earth, so don’t lose your flavor.
Now, it’s interesting because we have grown up hearing the expression “salt of the earth.”
When we say someone is the “salt of the earth” it means that they are a good person, decent and honest.
But this expression did not exist in Jesus’ time. This would have been a brand new thing that the people were hearing.
So when Jesus told them they were the salt of the earth, there probably would have been some “say what?” or some “come again?”
And just like how water has many metaphors, so does salt.
But one way we can understand one meaning of today’s reading is through the “Dinner On A Dime” article.
It’s possible that what Jesus is saying to the people is that you are the seasoning of the world.
Or in other words- you are the Spice of Life.
Think about that.
You are the Spice of Life.
Meaning that in you there is an extra zing, there is an extra “pow”, there is an extra “yum”, there is an extra “oh yeah” that no one else has.
You are the salt of the earth; you are the spice of life.
Meaning you are unique, you are special, and you are necessary.
You are the Spice of Life meaning there is something about you, there is an energy about you, there is something that you do that no one else can do the way you do.
And if anyone ever tells you anything different, tell them they are wrong!
You are the Spice of Life!
You bring your own gifts, you bring your own story, you bring your own ancestry, you bring your own hopes and dreams.
You bring your own YOUNESS so that the world is blessed; WE are blessed- when you share it…
…In a time of political strife and chaos, Jesus goes up a mountain, sits down on the earth, and engages in a horizontal monologue with the people in which he says-
Don’t’ sell yourself short.
Don’t hide your light.
And for the Lord’s sake, do not let God’s big ol’ batch o’ beans and rice be bland.
You are all the Salt of the Earth; you are the Spice of Life.
You are the garlic powder.
You are the lemon pepper.
You are the cumin and the coriander.
You are the Crystal Hot Sauce and the coconut milk.
Don’t let this big ol’ batch o’ beans and rice be boring.
You are the fresh basil.
You are the marjoram.
You are the packets of Goya Sazon seasoning.
You are the dollop of sour cream, the sprig of parsley, and the fresh salsa splashed on top.
In Christ, you are the Spice of Life; you are the Light of the World.
Don’t ever forget that; don’t ever let anyone steal your flavor.
For that we can say “Amen” and “amen.”