My well-read friend, always has a recommendation for a new read. Her latest “must put on my to-read pile” is Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. (I’m not sure I’ll get to it in this decade. I’m still working my way through The Overstory and The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm 1940-1965.) Now she has suggested a sermon series on salt. When you think about the many usages of salt: healing, preserving, making food taste better–to name a few, salt might just have the potential of spurning into an interesting if not thrilling sermon series. It’s now a topic for pondering on my thinking chair. The phrase “salt of the earth” is commonly known and a rather venerable expression with biblical origins. The phrase “You are the salt of the earth” comes from Matthew 5:13. It is part of the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus spoke, he meant that the people he was addressing – those who fished, the shepherds and laborers – mattered and were worthy and honorable. Salt in the days of Jesus, and even long before, was a precious commodity used in many different ways. I understand salt was even used as a “substitute” for coins to pay wages. I remember hearing about folks carrying pouches of salt around with them and when there was an agreement made between parties, they would trade pinches of salt – it was the equivalent to a handshake. I would give you a pinch of my salt, you give me a pinch of yours and we would both place the salt in our pouches. Here’s what makes this arrangement so interesting. If the agreement is broken – then each party is required to find and give back every single grain of salt that was received ….which we all know would be impossible… thus making it is impossible to break the agreement. Salt was a symbol of loyalty used to mark the bond between friends. Remember you are salt of the earth, loved and cherished, beloved and blessed by God.
Scripture Reading: Mark 9:50
“Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Who are “the salt of the earth” in your life?
What makes your saltiness decrease?
What book is on your “must read” pile?
Prayer: Holy God, remind me of what I carry in my bones; your living presence and claim me to be a person who makes my community a better place. Amen.