Salt Needs Preserving
Salt preserves. This is one of the main takeaways from Jesus’s teaching in Sunday’s Gospel as well as Pastor Jim’s message: As children of God, “the salt of the earth,” our invitation is to enrich and preserve our siblings in Christ. But there is another side - a second half - to Jesus’s words. “You are the salt of the earth,” he says, “but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?”
In other words, salt preserves, but salt must also be preserved.
The stakes are not insignificant. Truthfully, the more I read the second half of that verse, the more ominous it becomes. There is a deep sense of finality in it. Salt that has lost its flavor “is no longer good for anything” and cannot be restored.
That’s dark, especially considering this entire analogy begins with food seasoning.
In that darkness, however, I see hope. When Christ says “if salt has lost its taste...it is no longer good for anything,” he’s not referring to the weariness we may experience on a bad day or the guilt we may feel after making a bad choice. I don’t think he’s even referring to weeks, months, or years of difficulty, struggle, or sinfulness. I think Jesus is referring to a truly dire situation: a lifetime of rejecting God’s invitation to embrace God’s love and peace.
I know. Still seems bleak. Here's the hope: If salt becoming flavorless is truly a reference to a total rejection of God, then that is something for Christ to determine after our final day, when we stand before the pearly gates.
In the meantime, none of us - not a single one - has lost our flavor.
No one is beyond restoration. If life itself is a gift from God, then while that life still animates our minds and bodies, our richness remains. There is not a single living person incapable of answering Christ’s invitation to preserve and enrich others.
Truthfully, I thought I was going to write more for this post, but as I read and reread the words of the paragraph above, I think it is enough. I think it’s enough to reflect on the richness of existence and consider what it might be like to savor our relationships more deeply.
I’m not a chef. I’m not even a particularly good cook. I don’t really know what the proper amount of salt is on any dish. But every now and again I get it in my head to prepare a special dinner for my wife. In those moments, all I want - with my whole being - is to make it good. To make the food itself and the time spent eating it special. Glorious.
Lord, my prayer today is simple: Give me the grace to engage with more of your beloved children like this. Help me to build rich relationships with your people and, by your mercy, work through me to preserve them. Amen.