Thursday, September 10, 2020



    This is the first of our

         Fall Series


        Living out the



Dear All of Us,

       "Saints Alive!'

They sure are and they don't 

keep it to themselves either.

         There's a 


cadence and lilt to them 

and their aliveness. 

And it's delightfully catchy,

invites you into the good time,

into the God Time they are having.

They take to heart and street

The Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus invites us as well 

to do so, to be his, 

to be spiritual, 

to be followers, 

to be disciples,

to be salt and light, 

to be saints.

This week and next 

 "salt and light".

Two weeks of



Matthew 5: 13-16

One of the saints 

so alive and enlivening 

in my life was


Mrs. Catherine  Craenen

out there in Trenton, Michigan

back in the 40's.

Fair warning, I'm going 

to run on a bit (or more) here,

but then I've been a preacher 

for over half a century!!

Occupational hazard!!

The real reason, though,

is that Craenie is such 

a clear seeing of sanctity.

She was down home,

right at home,

"salt of the earth"

"light of the world."


With Craenie there was 

always a twinkle in her eyes 

just waiting for an excuse 

to break out in joyous 

peals of laughter.

That joy came from her heart.

Everything came from her heart.

There was this infectious


down to earth and up to heaven

realness, energy, caring, giving,

     God love, life joy,

in her, from her, about her.

It just jumped out from her soul.

For sure, she had her measure 

and more of suffering.

But she didn't settle.

She suffered it through 

in that God Love at her center.


was a perky, spiritual woman,

free of any drippy, 

droopy religiosity.

The Sermon On The Mount 

was her spiritual charter. 


          "got it" 

and let the Holy Spirit 

fire her engines

as she lived it out.

In the true and best sense,

she was a disciple. 

She lived out her


where she was, as she was.

She didn't run or mount 

all sorts of churchy

programs, policies and projects,

or bother with esoteric religiosity.

She was a family person on a farm.

And in that ordinariness,  

extraordinary she was. 

Craenie connected because 

she was so dearly, 

clearly connected to God

and to God's people and creation,

and that in an energetic, 

happy way - truly


As a little six year old I loved 

"going over to Craenie's". 

It was a ten minute walk 

down the country road

to her farm and home.

I wanted to be with her 

and I wanted to be like her.

She was strong of body and of spirit.

She worked hard and made an art of it.

She lived a simple spiritual life.

She lived GodOned, 

vigorously GodLoving  

all that touched her

and all she touched - 

lots and lots of both.

We always had fun, all sorts of it. 

There were stories swapped and

tons of things talked through.

We read Bible stories and

the lives of the saints. 

We'd pray - simple people prayer.

It was wonderful working together 

as we milked cows, cleaned the stalls, 

fed the animals, hoed the garden, 

picked vegetables, collected eggs, 

baked bread, churned butter, 

put up preserves, canned vegetables, 

made ice cream, baked pies and cakes.

It was at home sanctity,


       "Laborare est orare",

      "To work is to pray".

Cranie would sometimes take me 

with her to visit the shut-ins 

from church and the neighborhood. 

We'd bring them treats 

from farm and kitchen.

And when we got back,

did we ever have 

super good lunches.

I'd always go home

just before dark 

with food and farm gifts

from "Craenie" for my Mom.

Without the words for it,  

as a little six year old

I caught God from her.

And here I am eighty and 

still catching God from her.

And I sure am not the only one.

Amazing what Jesus puts 

  his disciples to doing.

     She simply was 

 as Jesus said to be,

"the salt of the earth"


"the light of the world".



As you and I seek 

our spiritual way

here on the streets 

of everyday living,

   as we try to 


   as disciples by 

      living out 



     lets share 

   and take some 

      Soul Time 

   with the sermon.

As long ago Jesus huddled 

with those first disciples,

so he does with us disciples 

in our now:

  "You are the salt of the earth; 

   but if salt has lost its taste, 

   how can its saltiness be restored?

   It is no longer good for anything, 

   but is thrown out 

   and trampled under foot.

  "You are the light of the world.

   A city built on a hill cannot be hid.

   No one after lighting a lamp 

   puts it under the bushel basket,

   but on the lampstand, 

   and it gives light 

   to all in the house. 

   In the same way, 

   let your light shine before others,

   so that they may see 

   your good works 

   and give glory to 

  your Father in heaven.

    Matthew 5:13-16

     Salt and Light



Now, quite john frankly,

how do we pierce the poetry 


    "salt of the earth" - 

do we start telling 

                salty sailor stories?

What about

   "the light of the world" - 

                sure, we're bright, 

                but world wattage?


In Jesus' time and place 


was the most valued 

commodity in all of society. 

A bag of salt was reckoned 

as precious as a man's life.

By comparing us to salt 

Jesus simply, strongly affirms 

that we are nothing less than 

      essential workers 

     in the his ministry. 


So let's see self as salt.

Salt brings out the best in things.

It adds zest, frees full flavor.

Salt keeps things from spoiling.

Salt stimulates appetite.

In writing here of salt, 

Matthew draws from an 

evocative tradition and context 

with multiple levels of meaning:

sacrifice, loyalty, covenant fidelity,

binding relationship, purification, 

preservation, seasoning, 

eating together ("sharing salt").

    - citations below -

Jesus is using metaphor 

to highlight for us

the life and effects 

of discipleship

The metaphor is meant 

to be translated into 

action and experience.

So lived, 

it attracts and invites.

That's what disciples 

are meant to do.

It's really a top drawer deal 

to parse out the implications 

for us in our here and now

of being 

       "Salt of the earth"


         Disciple Living. 


- brings out the best in others

- adds zest to their lives

- frees the flavors of their uniqueness

- keeps things from spoiling in society

- stimulates appetites for God's goods,

  for excellence 

- supports sacrifice for fuller

- enlivens loyalty

- fortifies fidelity to God Covenant

- binds and bonds 

  people, peoples and places

- purifies to brightness

- preserves worth

- seasons to zip

     In prayerful quiet, 

it would be helpful to name 

    instance and way

that each of these are vibrant 

in living out our right now 



We don't and can't make ourselves

       "salt of the earth"

      "light of the world"

Jesus tells us we are so simply 

by being his disciples,

by following his life lead,

by our union with him.

Being salt and light are givens.

What givens!!

They are givens to be given -

there's no discipleship 

in a chapel of private

   "Jesus and Me" 


Following Jesus,

living the life of discipleship,

spices things up, 

brightens things up for others,

invites them to join the party,

to see things - everything -  

in a new way, to live a new reality.

The Message translation

puts it all like this:

   "Let me tell you why you are here.

    You are here to be salt- 

    seasoning that brings out 

    the God-flavors of this earth. 

    If you loose your saltiness, 

    how will people taste godliness? 

    You've lost your usefulness 

    and will end up in the garbage.


Our focus in this series is on response,


               to living

    The Sermon on the Mount.

     In it Jesus offers us our

        spiritual charter.

     He starts with eight 


           to being, 

    to being his followers, 

         Be Attitudes.

He then shows us that in him,

because of following him,

we will be change agents

in our time and place -

salt and light for others.

Jesus goes on to reveal 

the life to be lived,

pictures it for us,

paints it in the 

practical and particulars

of daily life in his kingdom,

that come and coming.

He locates us with him

      in the line of 

The Law and the Prophets.

He points out best practices,

he points us right and real about:

  - anger, adultery, divorce, 

  - oaths and truth telling,

  - retaliation, love of enemies,

  - non-showy almsgiving,  

    prayer and fasting,

  - real treasure,

  - seeing the light , 

  - choice of God over money,

  - living worry free in God's care

 - being non-judgmental, 

 - being careful not to profane the holy,

 - seeking - just ask and receive,

 - the gold standard for treating others,

 - getting the tight/right door to life,

 - knowing the real by the results,

 - tells us don't talk God - do God,

 -tells us: build you living on rock real.

       (Matthew 5:1 - 7:29 )    

Next week let's see the light,

the light we are called to be,

"You are the light of the world." 

Thanks for this chance to 

       Soul Share

  In God's Dear Love,

         John Frank




           Lev2:13, Ezek 43: 24

Loyalty and covenant fidelity:

           Esra 4:14, Num18:19

Eating together:

           "sharing salt" expressed 

            binding relationship


            2 Kgs2: 19-22


            JOB 6:6, Col 4:6


             Ignatius, Letter to the 

             Magesians 10 


The New Interpreter's Bible Commentary

                   Volume VII

                            Page 120

                 Abingdon Press





A bright Fall welcome 

to all joining us for

the first time here at

  "frankly speaking"

spirituality for the street

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        BE ZESTY!!



Look at the Light.

Feel the communion - 

         "I am the light of the world"


                  John 8:12

       "You are the light of the world."


                Matthew 5:14

We're family!

We are made bright by the Son of God.

We are put to work in the family business,

lighting up, brightening up the world,

in our homes and across 

the lands of our living.

That light makes it possible 

for others to see, to see things 

as they really are.