by Debbie Holloway
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men (Matthew 5:13).
I think sometimes we get so used to our familiar metaphors, we fail to let their significance really sink in. What Christian hasn’t proclaimed brightly: "We're salt and light!"? And yet, do we really think about the significance of that imagery? In a faith tradition where we have so many great metaphors and allegories, let's remember to ponder this one that Jesus coined.
What does it mean to be "the salt of the earth"?
As we know too-well in our sodium-filled modern world, salt makes things taste better. But condiment connoisseurs will make sure to explain that salt, when used properly, brings out the flavor already present in the food itself. Unlike pepper, which was used in ancient times to mask distasteful rotting and souring in foods such as meat, salt only enhances what’s there.
As Christians, we aren’t here to blot out the colors and flavors around us. We're not here to ignore or destroy what we see and replace it with something else. Rather, we are to be (tasty) ambassadors of Christ on a mission to draw out and display goodness. God made a good world, and, though fallen, it's still good! We still have the breath of life from God inside us. So let's remember to point to the truth and be the people who enhance and brighten wherever we go, not overpower our surroundings like too much pepper.
Before the age of refrigeration, how did people preserve perishable food? That's right: salt. Something about packing meat with salt slows down the process of decay, making it easier to store, transport, and save meat without it going rancid right away.
Likewise, let us as the salt of the earth remember to preserve what is good. In matters of justice and stewardship, Christians should be front and center to fight for what is right, what is safe, and what brings life to the world around us. Our homes, families, and communities should be solid and fresh, not rotting and fetid.
If we fail to protect and preserve, what good are we? If we fail to enhance the flavor of what’s around us, there's nothing left for us "except to be thrown out" (so to speak).