Magazine article Anglican Journal

Salt a Symbol of Commitment, Desolation

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Salt a Symbol of Commitment, Desolation

Article excerpt

`salt of the earth'

IT WAS SPRING, and I walking along a path between a river and a busy road. Spring was late; it had been cold and wet, but suddenly the sun was warm and strong.

The grass beside the river changed from brown to green in three days, but not beside the roadway.

As I observed this each day, I realized from other signs, such as the corroded curb, that the grass beside it was full of salt and that it might take ages to turn green, if it did at all.

This accords with my impressions generally of the results of our extravagant use of salt in winter. I see its effects on my trouser cuffs, our hall carpet, our front sidewalk, the highways, everywhere. I resent the money I pay for undercoating on my car.

I belong to a generation whose attitude to the internal use of salt has altered radically. I recall my mother's generous use of salt in cooking and the subsequent generous addition of salt before the meal by all of us. That is not the way I cook.

With all of these contemporary examples before me, I began to reflect on what I hear in Jesus' words to his disciples that they are "the salt of the earth."

I live in a culture accustomed to refrigeration on a scale unknown as recently as my youth. Before our century salt was essential to prevent the deterioration of food in the heat.

That physical quality of salt passed over into symbolic relationships with other people. In many places to this day a genuine welcome is expressed in a gift of bread and salt, necessities of life and signs of unshakable allegiance. …

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