Beneath the Skin
My pixies are rock stars. They absolutely love to rock out to hard music. I blame this on part to several people: my husband, Lacey Sturm, and Uncle Jon. We love to blare music in our house. Several months ago, when Lacey stayed with us, she danced around our living room with the girls lost in their own little rock concert. The girls floated to the moon.
When I met my husband, he was actually a musician, lead singer of a band that back in the good ole days was hard rock. Needless to say, he loves to jam, and these girls jam right along with him. Every Sunday morning on our way to church, Zion pipes up from the back, “Play Impossible.” Brielle adds her two cents, “Awake and Alive.” And, of course, Lyric is not to be left out, “Hero.” We jam, we worship, we laugh.
Recently, Uncle Jon just introduced the pixies to Skillet. I remember this band from the years of my youth, but they had remained relatively dormant to me until recently. We are rediscovering this band, and loving it. Their lyrics are strong, their testimony bold. And, just the other day, one of their songs, Monster, surfaced to convict me.
The secret side of me, I never let you see
I keep it caged but I can't control it
So stay away from me, the beast is ugly
I feel the rage and I just can't hold it
It's scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls
It comes awake and I can't control it
Hiding under the bed, in my body, in my head
Why won't somebody come and save me from this, make it end?
I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster
A Visible Community
I had one of those days, where I felt like a monster. Every part of me hated the me that was surfacing. I prayed to tame the beast, but it kept roaring it’s ugly head. “The things I want to do, I do not do, the things I hate, I do.”
The thing about the monster within us, is that it is always just beneath the skin. Waiting. Plotting. Begging for control. We never know when it may surface, but it’s there. It is hidden. But we, as followers of the Way, are not called to hide. We are to be visible. We are light.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world.” If light is anything, it is visible. It manifests itself to the world. It can be seen.
As followers of the Way, we are to be a visible community. In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes,
“You can no longer remain hidden, even if you want to...The followers are a visible community; their discipleship visible in action which lifts them out of the world...And of course the following is as visible to the world as a light in the darkness.”
The cross of Christ was made visible to the world so the Light might be made known.
The world is desperate for this light. It has seen enough monsters in its days. Light always pierces the darkness. And we are that light. We are not given an instrument to shine. We are to shine.
Losing Our Savour
Christ also says we are the salt of the earth. This earth is begging for some saltiness. The events of this past week show how easily the monster within each one of us is unleashed. Again Bonhoeffer writes,
“Jesus does not say, ‘You must be the salt.’ It is not for the disciples to decide whether they will be the salt of the earth, for they are so whether they like it or not, they have been made salt by the call they have received.”
It is not something we must be, or something we have. Rather, it’s something we are. We are the salt of the earth. We make the earth flavorful. We are to breathe life into this world that is dying.
Bonhoeffer puts it this way, “But now Jesus calls them the salt of the earth--salt, the most indispensable necessity of life. The disciples, that is to say, are the highest good, the supreme value which the earth possesses, for without them it cannot live. They are the salt that sustains the earth.”
Without the followers of Christ, the earth cannot live.
We do not decide to be the salt of the earth, and then go and become it. This decision has already been made when we became followers of Christ. The call to Christ is inseparable from the call to be salt.
If we cease to be this, we are “good for nothing”. When we lose our savour, the salt stops working altogether. What is so interesting about salt is that everything else is saved by salt. But once salt loses its savour, it’s done. There is no use for it.
Let us not be the generation that loses its savour!
We are not monsters. We are salt, light. There may be a monster within waiting to roar its nasty head, but that is not who we are.
We are sons and daughters of the Most High God.
We have been bought with the precious blood of a spotless Lamb.
We are no longer slaves to fear.
We are free in Christ.
We are salt.
We are light.
And we are the visible community...