|Thursday, Jun. 15, 2006 || Get out that salt shaker!|
Yesterday, verse 50 in Mark 9 popped out at me. This is the New Living version:
Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.
That got me to thinking. What are the qualities of salt that Christ was talking about here? And what does that (salt and it's properties) have to do with living in peace with one another?
I went to some other versions and found this paraphrase/translation in The Message version (second part of the verse):
Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace.
I think we have to go back to the culture of that day and how they viewed salt. To us today we likely think of salt mainly as a seasoning. But back then, salt was important for a lot of other reasons.
I am just taking a leap at this, but my thought is that salt as a preservative was much more important in that time than salt as a seasoning/flavoring. No electricity. No refrigeration. A Mediterranean climate. You had to do something to "keep" your food. Salt preserved meats, etc. for much longer than they would have lasted otherwise.
So, assuming that is the attibute Jesus was trying to draw our attention to, how do we become - today - preservatives of peace?
I think too often Christians have focused on the idea of keeping peace with "their brethren" only (and exclusively) - those who believe as they do. But I don't see Jesus adhering to that at all. How could we reconcile his statement that if they are not against us they are for us if he only wanted us to pursue peace with those of like faith and practice? And he certainly wouldn't have talked to the Samaritan woman at the well or healed the Roman centurion's servant. He was a Jew and the only people I ever see him speaking harshly to - even trying to rile up a bit, so it seems - are other Jews, the Pharisees and Sadduccees.
So, here we are today. A mere 2000+ years later. How does one promote and preserve peace - in our relationships, in our community, in our country, and in our world today?
I posed that question on a forum yesterday, and this was my favorite response:
"My take on this particular verse is that we (as Christians) are to be like salt which helps to flavor life and not make it bitter or unpleasant to those around us. Salt has wonderful qualities for preservation as well as a way to bring out the best in those things to which it has been added. This ability to combine it with varying other ingredients to create a pleasing feast for all to enjoy seems to support the thought that Christians are here to help preserve the peace by bringing out the best in all those God has placed in our everyday lives.
Isn't that what St. Francis of Assis was talking about?
Just a reminder - Friday, Aug. 10, 2007
Rockin' Girl Blogger - Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2007
A good end - Friday, Jun. 01, 2007
Moving on? Yes and no. - Monday, May. 07, 2007