The Real State of the Union Is That We Are Far From Being the Light of the World

As I reflect on the rudeness, mockery, and cat calls aimed at the President last evening during the State of the Union, I am physically, mentally, and spiritually sick of the political right and the evangelical right wing of the Christian faith.

The rhetoric and belief system these people offer is full of negativity, hypocrisy, and hatred for anything or anyone who does not fall in line with their belief system.

Where can we turn as the LGBTQ+ community to find solace, comfort, and affirmation when the screaming from the right gets louder every day and apparently can happen no matter where we are or what we are doing?

These power brokers of morality stand by and do nothing as young trans folk are beaten to death in a bathroom.

These power brokers of morality are burning books! Stopping children’s story times in public libraries.

These power brokers of morality have no concern for the hungry, the unhoused, or the addicted.

So, I ask again where our community can turn for words that build us up rather than tear us down and seek to destroy us.

I am a pastor of a mostly Christian fellowship and so looking to Jesus’ teachings, particularly those recorded in Matthew seemed to be a good place to start.

Then I got to Matthew 5:13-16, found an invitation — a radical one — not just to exist, but to thrive as vibrant contributors to society. This invitation is deeply entrenched in love, acceptance, and purpose, and carries profound significance for everyone, and especially my people, members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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 underfoot. (Matthew 5:13)

Jesus begins with a declaration that we are the “salt of the earth,” a statement that beckons us to recognize our inherent value and our capacity to bring out the best in the world around us. For the LGBTQ+ community, this affirmation is a powerful counter to narratives of shame and exclusion.

It’s a reminder that our presence and our essence enrich the world, that our love and our truth add flavor to the human experience. We are the life of the party!

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. (Matthew 5:14-15)

Jesus calls us the “light of the world,” painting images of visibility, guidance, and warmth. Especially for those who have felt compelled to hide their true selves, these words reassure that our light is not only necessary but meant to shine brightly. Through living authentically, we break barriers, guide others on their journeys of acceptance, and warm hearts that have grown cold from judgment.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Creator in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

This clarion call to action, to “let your light shine,” is an encouragement to live boldly and visibly, to demonstrate love, justice, and solidarity in ways that inspire and uplift.

It’s a charge to engage in “good works”,  to get into “good trouble” — not to earn love or acceptance, but as a reflection of the love and acceptance that already belongs to us. To take hold of the idea: “We are wonderfully and uniquely made in the image of God!”

LGBTQ+ community, these passages offer profound affirmation, real affirmation. Jesus’ teachings call us to recognize our worth, to celebrate our identity, and to engage actively in the work of making the world more welcoming for all. We cannot stop or hide when they come for us.

This message is not about mere tolerance or surviving; it’s about thriving, contributing, and leading with love. It’s a reminder that, in the face of rejection or misunderstanding, we are invaluable — to the world and to the divine.

The call to be salt and light is not a demand for conformity and tradition but an invitation to authenticity. It’s an assurance that, in being true to ourselves, we fulfill a vital role in the grand tapestry of humanity. Our diversity, our love, our resilience — they’re not just accepted; they’re needed.

What if Jesus really did mean what he said? Then he meant that each of us, including every LGBTQ+ individual, is indispensable to the richness and wholeness of the human experience. He meant that our lives, our love, and our light are blessings to the world — a world that we are called to flavor and illuminate with our unique presence.

There’s no room for shame or fear — only the call to love boldly, live authentically, and shine our light for all to see.

We must have the courage and strength to accept that invitation, knowing that our identities are not just accepted, but celebrated and cherished by the One who created us.

Let us continue to spread love and light in a world that so desperately needs it. Let us trust in the message of acceptance and purpose found in these powerful words.

Have the courage to believe that Jesus truly meant what he said. So let us go forth, salt and light of the world, bringing love, acceptance, and change wherever we may go.

The journey ahead will not always be easy and at times painful, even deadly, but we will find strength in these words and know that our Creator is with us every step of the way.

Let us thrive and flourish, knowing that our existence is not just accepted, but truly valued and celebrated.

Continue to live boldly, love fiercely, and shine our light for all to see.  May we always remember that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Right now, know without a doubt, you are wonderfully and uniquely made in the image of God and that is more than enough!