This past Sunday we heard from Matthew’s gospel about being the “Salt of the earth” and the “Light of the world.” Salt in the first century, because of its use as a food preservative, was a real lifeline to survival–having it and using it could be a matter of life or death. Our faith is like that, too, and it seems that these days we are getting a lot of opportunities to put our faith into action. Because of this, and because as a community we have a variety of interests when it comes to staying abreast of what is happening today, we have instituted a “Faith in Action” table in the back of the church– a place to share information and to network, and a “Faith in Action” corner of the e-Pistle, our newsletter. We are looking for a “curator” of the table. Interested? Let Cynthia know.
This week, along with our bishop and dozens of clergy from the diocese, I participated in an action to support a man facing deportation. His case is symbolic of many. It was our hope that we could be salt of the earth– a literal “lifeline to survival”– for a man named Catalino and his family. We were successful, at least temporarily.
Seeing the line of people waiting to go into the federal building in Newark for immigration hearings, I was aware of being a mere grain of salt. What could have been a day with a difficult ending– deportation– turned into one with much rejoicing– a reprieve, but it was short-lived. The stress of the whole experience got to Catalino, and before long he collapsed as we were marching back to the church. The good news was that there was another “lifeline to survival” present in the group–a certain public health nurse you know well, and she was able to assess the situation and get him back on his feet again. In the end the group of almost 200 interfaith clergy and laity rallied and held a press conference outside the church, but I wondered how many more grains of salt would be needed to help all of the Catalinos of the world.