Our church service today was the perfect example of why I love being an Episcopalian. Our rector, Rev. Kit Brinson, gave the Episcopalian version of a hellfire and brimstone sermon. If it had been a fundamentalist church, the ideal sermon would have been one in which at least half of the church was condemned to hell. Afterwards, all of the parishioners would have left feeling scared for their own soul and fearful for the soul of their loved ones. Fortunately the Episcopal Church is different and Rev. Kit gave a sermon that was a call to action for members of the church to be the hands and feet of Christ.
The sermon centered around the idea of Christians being the “salt of the earth.” Until today, I think I’ve misinterpreted just what that phrase meant. I always thought it meant to be fundamentally good, reliable, and trustworthy, though unexceptional. Being the “salt of the earth” always struck me as being a bit prudish, overly pious, and stuck up. I thought that until today.
Salt adds flavor to life. That’s what we as Christians are supposed to do. We’re supposed to add flavor to life. However, we’re not supposed to do this for our own benefit. We are supposed to do it for the betterment of society as a whole. As a parish in our community, that’s what we strive to do. We have numerous outreach programs to help those outside the church. I’d even venture to say that we do more for a church our size than any other church in the community. That doesn’t mean that our mission is fulfilled however. Salt is plentiful and we must never be content that we have done enough.
Salt makes us thirsty. In the literal sense, it makes us thirst for water. However, in the sense of spirituality, it makes us thirst for truth. The “saltier” we are, the thirstier we must become. The more we carry out the mission of the church, the more we help others, and the more we demonstrate Christ’s love for all people, the more we should desire to do it. Unfortunately, it’s not a Christian message that gets a lot of attention these days.
Rev. Kit definitely needs to work on her hellfire and brimstone sermons. The next time church falls on April 1 would be perfect. Until that time comes, I’ll be grateful for the Episcopal hellfire and brimstone sermons and grateful for the community in which all are welcome and all are united for one cause – to be the hands and feet of Christ.