The Rev'd Robert Warren.                                                                            
Mark 9:38-50

A salty story might not be appreciated at the dinner table.  An "old salt" might be just the sort to tell such a salty story at table.  Somebody who is the "salt of the earth" might be given to calling a spade a spade in a direct and shocking but ultimately forgiveable fashion.  You might say that his story was "salted" with references to his home town.  

You know the effect that salt has on a meal of meat or fish.  It tends not only to make its own presence known but it tends to heighten all the other flavours of the meal as well.  A good meal with all the right ingredients might seem a disaster without a good pinch of salt.

Jesus talks about some element in his followers which might be present or which might be missing - some aspect or portion of their character.  "Have salt within yourselves" he says and this "salt saying" can be joined up with all the other references to his followers being light or salt to the world.  We might have said "What do you mean?"  Can this be put into psychological terms which we can understand, management terms or propositions.  What's with all the poetry, Jesus, all this salt and light?

It's just enough to set us - his followers centuries on - back on our heels.  Like so many metaphors it digs at us.  It robs us of our casual overconfidence.  It provokes the question: what about me?  Well what about you?  Are you salt in the world?  Does your presence make a difference in the place where you work?  Do you contribute something to the community of your church family which brings out the other flavours in the meal - the gifts and talents of other people, the latent abilities of others?  Nothing wrong with being dug at by Jesus.  Nothing wrong with being forced to the mirror. You have time.  Thats why there's an injunction at the end of the passage:  "Have salt in yourselves."  

It's not yet too late for any of us to discover what this metaphor means.


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