February 5, 2023: Seeing and Being Light

cross with sunrise

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Seeing and Being Light

Jesus offers us wisdom that reveals a new and more abundant way of being in the world. He encourages us to be salty, to shine, and to illuminate the space we live in.

This encouragement reminds me of a drive I took on I-95 north through the city of Baltimore. Driving I-95 is not usually a spiritual experience for me: road construction, potholes, many drivers in a rush.

Some time ago, I drove my mother home on this route after she had stayed with us for several months due to a health setback. She and I started our trip after the evening rush hour, as the sun slowly faded and the highway lights flickered on.

It was a peaceful time, with just the two of us in the car. As we approached Baltimore, Mom gasped, “Look how beautifully the city is lit up!”

Though I love Baltimore, I’ve never considered the view from I-95 lovely. But looking with fresh eyes, I realized it was beautiful. Baltimore is not a city on a hill in a literal sense, but it is surely aglow. Aglow with neighborhoods and families, churches and ministries, sports and culture, each in great diversity of expression and style.

Mom’s noticing helped me to consider Baltimore in a new way. Baltimore is a struggling city, a city with many challenges. Baltimore is also a surviving city, a persevering city, a city with many residents who love and care for it. Mom’s comment reminded me to consider not only the difficulties of a place, but the aspirations and the blessings as well.

Wherever we live could be like the city on a hill. Wherever people aspire to be salty, bright, and luminescent. Wherever people aspire to love their neighbors and serve their communities.

What are you doing to be salty? To shine? To illuminate your community? To be a part of the movement of God right where you are?


Tammie Rinker, pastor, West Side Moravian Church
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania