Headlines from First Thoughts

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Salty Sacrifice

The metaphor of salt, used only 6 times in the New Testament, is usually associated with the work the church does outside the walls. We are the "salt of the earth" as Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew. Before we shake outside the dispenser, Jesus said we had to salt each other.

Salt was not only a preservative for things outside the shaker. Our word came from the Roman practice of the "salarium." Officers paid soldiers a salarium as their wages so they could purchase salt. "Salary" and "salt" share a common latin origin. In fact, our expression, "Are you worth your salt?" echoes the tradition of earning your wages.

Christians are given the salt of trust to share peacefully with each other. We are paid in trust and we give others our trust. In Mark 9:45-52, Jesus uses salt in the context of the work the community of disciples performs inside the shaker. We "have salt among ourselves" by exhibiting trust in each other.

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