“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew 5:13-16
While our neighborhoods have moved into unfamiliar territory and vocabulary, I have been in another bubble.
Since March 9, I’ve been with a tour group in Israel. Travel restrictions were just starting after we arrived. And they have rearranged our schedule, but we are still moving. Throngs of people at the Western Wall and in the streets of old Jerusalem have been non-existent. Even though they want our tourism, we are beginning to feel the hesitation from some locals.
As I write for this Sweet Monday, I’m sitting on a hotel balcony at the Dead Sea. Mountains surround this body of strangely beautiful water. Are you remembering this is the lowest place in all the earth? A little while ago, we walked the beach and stepped into salty sea and for 20 seconds did that famous float. Then security came and told us we had to get out of the water. Now there is a quiet here that is mysterious. No one is on the beach or floating in the water. The hotel pool, beach chairs, outdoor spa is empty.
With all the world is experiencing and the multitude of feelings, I am conscious that at this moment where I am, I can only be still. Strange. I’m miles from home, my husband, my adult children who are worried about me, my aging mother, my school where preparations for possible closure and on-line classes are in high gear. Here there is no house project, no one needing attention, no deadlines, no computer, nothing but stillness. Strange. But checking myself in the reality, I find sweet comfort from our Father in this moment.
What am I supposed to hear in this silence?
I wonder what I will be like at the end of this unordinary time. What will we be like?
I wonder if God is making a way for us to stop in this lowest place and time in our cities, the nations.
I wonder if we will be still and listen. To Him. To each other.
I wonder if we might see our calendars as possible captors now that we are having to stop.
I wonder if we will learn to Sabbath because of this forced stopping.
I wonder if we recognize inconvenience for most of us is not suffering.
I wonder if we will feel deeply for those who are suffering.
I wonder if we will find ways to care for someone less comfort able, note able, pay able.
This is a time to stay in. This is a time to be careful and care full.
Let’s not be like the Dead Sea that offers no life beyond our own personal boundaries.
But do let this be a salty season. Give goodness to what feels heavy, lonely, crazy!
Let this be a season of sweet-making-history moments for our family, friends, strangers.
Let’s write letters and not just texts.
Let’s pray for those who work to make us safe and doing so in places that aren’t safe.
Let’s draw a hopscotch on sidewalks or your street that has messages of fun.
Let’s put a sign on your front door or window that makes others smile and feel welcomed in a day of social distancing.
Let’s believe our God is our refuge and strength. That we can pour out our hearts to him. Let’s let His love and sweetness flow out of us.
I’m guessing you are already ahead of me in finding ways to bless others, to encourage, support, creatively contact, and be with and for others. May your saltshaker keep pouring out so others can taste and see the sweetness of our God.
P.S. I returned safely home Friday and now I’m in my shelter in place for the next 14 days. I think my saltshaker is full.