The hybrid gathering of the annual Moderators’ Conference came to a conclusion on Saturday evening at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville with parting words from the Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace, Co-Moderator of the 225th General Assembly (2020).
“In these times, they are a changing and changing times are always with uncertainty,” said Santana-Grace. “It has been a quite a day the last few years with dual pandemics of Covid and racism plaguing us, the reality of unbridled violence, haunting us in places we once believed were safe. In the midst of it all, the words of Jesus break in, reverberating across thousands of years, ‘Blessed are you, because you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.’”
The closing worship was centered on Matthew 5: 13-16, part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount where he emphasizes to his disciples that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
“What was once used to preserve meat and prevent spoiling became something to elevate and enhance the food,” Santana-Grace said. “You are the salt of the earth in a world of unrest, equity and economic disparity. In this season of pandemic and a world of uncertainty, you, me — we — are the salt of the earth. Wherever we have been placed, we are blessed to enhance and elevate the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to preserve the values and hopes that Jesus gave us.”
Santana-Grace told the group that although there is much that is broken, followers of Christ are not called to this alone, adding that people are bound together by God’s holy work as well as Jesus’ resurrection and transformation.
“I am moved by the image of God’s light blinking in the darkness, revealing love to all that they may have access to God’s grace and hope. We are moved by a God that can break through the shadows to see what is not yet seen, give vision where there is none,” she said. “I believe that’s the meaning of our lives. This is who we are. We are salt and light, reflecting the gospel in ways that meet the brokenhearted where they are as Christ meets us where we are.”
Approximately 140 moderators from across the PC(USA) took part in the two-day conference either in person or via Zoom. Online participants were also able to view and participate in the worship services. Read an account of Friday’s opening worship here.
The Saturday service concluded with communion, which included the traditional elements as well as a small mirror.
“Pick up a mirror as you pick up elements. Take it with you as a reminder of who you are because of whose you are,” Santana-Grace concluded. “We are clearly not the source of the light, but we are powered by the Holy Spirit that can reflect the light of the resurrection where shadows and darkness prevail. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.”