Confession of an American Christian, Matthew 5:13-15

Photo by Rachel Claire on

How often we are the salt
in the wounds of the earth,
flaunting our prosperity, hoarding it,
and destroying the tastes
of the wind, the ground, the sea,
by the trampling
of those great boots
we call our needs.

Or, with halogen beams
on our out-of-control truck,
we careen up the highest hills
searching the biggest city,
and singing, “this big light of mine
I’m going to make it shine
so no one sees anything else
for miles and miles around.”

We have missed the lamp-lighting
in the valley places
where kindness dwells,
not so everyone looks at our light,

but that by our little light
a child reads a book,
an elder feels safe from rustling
outside the window,
or sirens in the streets,
and partners in love
cook potatoes, slice apples,
bake bread with a dash of salt,

so all those who are hungry|
may come in and eat.

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6 Responses to Confession of an American Christian, Matthew 5:13-15

  1. Jessica McArdle says:

    A confession that is now on my lips as well. O God, let our little lights shine.

  2. Powerful – the poignant contrast between the intimate giving lights of the end, with the rampaging show-off lights of the “out-of-control truck” (great image), and in the first verse, that painful metaphor of the salt in the wounds of the world, and how that salt destroys the flavours of the created world. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with shame and despair at what Western culture dominated by power and profit has done and is doing here and throughout the world.

    • Maren says:

      Yes, the contrast is what I was hoping for … and the shame and despair. Somehow It seems to US is even more culpable than others, but that may be because I live here.

  3. “Salt in the wounds of the earth” – that’s powerful. I love how you brought it around to feeding the earth by the close of the poem.

    Is it ironic that “This Little Light” is the song that always opens our twice-monthly community sings/concerts?

    • Maren says:

      Thank you. I love to pair This Little Light” with “Let your Little light shine, shine, shine …” which is one of my favorite songs ever.

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