By this time most graduations have taken place and the graduates, from whatever level of education, stand expectant and empowered as they contemplate the next phase of their lives. The spring plantings have taken root and we wait their full blossoming during the days of summer or their harvest in the autumn. Just so today’s readings hold out to us empowerment and fulfillment. They do so with the beautiful image of “God’s seal in our hearts,” and the exhortation to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.”
Paul tells his beloved Corinthians that there is no negative or tentative aspect of God; that God is faithful and God’s faithfulness is made manifest in Jesus Christ; God is a keeper of promises; God, too, is the One who has “put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.” How wonderful it is to contemplate that we have the “signature” of God on our individual hearts. How awesome it is to contemplate that we have been chosen and set apart by this faithful God. How wondrous it is to call upon the Lord and have his face shine upon us! This is another Pentecost as God’s Spirit rests upon our hearts. That is empowerment!
But what to do with this empowerment? We cannot just sit here and contemplate the wonders of God, the love of Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We can do just that, of course, but our prayer should inform our actions. Our actions should grow out of our prayer. Our contemplation should urge us, empower us, to respond to the exhortation of Jesus to be “salt of the earth,” and “light of the world.”
We are all capable of being salt and light. We can heal and flavor and preserve just as salt does. We can all be lights in the small corner of the world where we live. We can bring light into the dark, provide light to find the lost and to find the way. We all can be the source of warmth. We can do that because “God has put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts.”
To be sure there will be days when we do not feel much like being light or salt. There will be days when the salt has dried out and is tasteless; days when the light is but a small flicker or simply burned out. The dark night of the soul is real. I am sure many of us have lost the way, soured a relationship, experienced unhealthy life patterns, experienced dryness in our prayer, or felt the chill of loneliness or alienation.
It is in just such circumstances that we must recall that we are “sealed by God’s Spirit,” that there is no “no” in God, that Jesus is God’s “yes” to us in whatever situation we experience. In light or darkness we turn to God, and in the words of today’s Psalm, say: “Lord, let your face shine on me.”
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