Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Salt and Peace
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:42-50
These days, we are told daily of the harmful effects of too much salt in our diet and rightly so. But I learned early that some salt can keep a person alive. My Dad was finishing out active duty in the late sixties at the height of the Vietnam war. He was stationed at Camp LeJuene, North Carolina, and we were housed that first summer on the rifle range. There were only five or six officers homes on that part of base, so the neighborhood kids had the place to ourselves. It was noisy at times but when the GIs weren't at target practice, we were free to explore. By each of the firing stations were salt tab dispensers. Curious me took a handful and then went and asked my Dad about them. He told me that in full fatigues a person could sweat so much when active that they could pass out from water loss, and die pretty quick;y if not taken care of. Most of the young men would finish their training and get shipped off to war. Learning to take salt, self-care was one way they might just survive and stay alive.
Jesus was using pictures, stories and illustrations to help his disciples stay alive, faithful and at peace. The care and protection of the innocents is essential to our life and faith. We are entrusted by God with the care of the children, the orphans, widows, those who are sick, lonely and without care and protection. We are to keep ourselves strong so that we can protect them with our whole selves. We will face challenges, and temptations but God promises to protect us as we protect others. And as we care for others and ourselves, keeping strong so that we can serve, than peace will be the sign that we have lived faithfully for God and others. We are invited to self-care, so that can serve and live in peace, to be salty enough, tough enough, tested enough that we can serve joyfully for those who aren't able, and are too vulnerable to face the daily challenges alone.
I ask God today to help me do those things I need to do to be strong so that I might serve and spread God's love by my living. May I have the resolve to take my medicine, face the challenges, do the hard work, and be constantly in prayer - living a salted life - so that others might thrive and find strength and love through me. May we be salt for the world, so that peace might break out around us, and spread across the globe through the lives we lead today.