Monday, February 10, 2014

Be salt: stories from children

"You are the salt of the earth!" Jesus said in yesterday's gospel.

Another way to put it: "You are what gives flavor to the world. Your good deeds, stirred into the mixed-up chowder that human beings make of life, are what make it savory, what ultimately save it."

"Be salt."

At the family service yesterday, some of the kids passed out a small blank card and a marker to everyone there. "Write on the card one thing you've done this week that was salt," I suggested, "a good deed that might have changed the flavor of someone's day." They wrote, then kids and grown-ups all brought their cards up and "salted" the green cloth-covered altar with their good deeds.

A sampling from the children:  "I waved to a neighbor." "I cried with a friend." "I kept my brother company when he was sick." "I helped my mom."

These kids don't know the phrase "ministry of presence," but they live it. I imagine, for example, the lonely neighbor, perhaps especially isolated this snowy winter here in Maine, whose day was brightened by a happy wave from a child; the solace given by sharing a friend's sadness; the family dynamics that are salted and changed by kindness and companionship; and as I think of these and all the other "grains of salt" scattered on the altar yesterday, I know that each small good deed literally changes the fabric of the universe; each tiny grain of goodness makes a difference, day by day, act by act, person by person.