"Ye are the salt of the earth"
What does salt do?Salt can do a lot of things. It flavors food. I can't even imagine potato chips without it. Salt burns if it gets into a sore in a person's skin, yet it can also heal that same sore. It preserves food like dried meats. In some cultures is was used as currency, money. It melts frozen things. Salt cleans and disinfects. It keeps our eyes wet with tears. If you have ever tried putting in contact lenses with water instead of saline solution, salt water, you will know how important that is.
|William helps dig us out as the city tractor spreads salt.|
How are Christians like salt?
We should be adding flavor to life, making it better for people. The Christian life should be more palatable to non-believers because of our lifestyle. Sometimes we irritate people, like salt burns the skin, but this should never be our intention. Those same people who have been irritated by us should also be ministered to by us. We should attempt to use our saltiness to help heal spiritual wounds instead of leaving people hurting. We should help preserve good things like traditions and laws that help people. We should cry with the hurting shedding our tears with them.
What is fishy salt?
I made that term up. Here in Iceland we have a lot of snow and ice in the winter. Sometimes it melts on its own, but most often salt needs to be spread around to help cars drive more safely and to help people like me not fall as we walk. After two decades here, I am still the country's most clutzy person on ice. Often sand, the black kind found in volcanic places, is added to the salt. That way when the ice melts and refreezes at night, there is still some grip.
There are places here owned by the local governments that have giant piles of salt and sand. The city trucks come in, fill their reservoirs, and spread the salt and sand around. These giant piles are usually open to the public, too. We can go in, fill up a bucket or two, and take it back to toss on our stairs, sidewalks, and driveways. This is very helpful to the ultra clutzy like myself.
This is what I call fishy salt. Why? Because it smells like fish. I don't know why it has that pungent smell. Maybe it's because it lies outside next to the fishing boats. Maybe some of it was used to preserve salt fish or fish jerky. I have asked people but have never gotten a really definitive answer. The why doesn't really matter, though. It smells fishy.
|Patrick, William, and Rosa behind a snow pile after digging.|
What about other salt?
Growing up, we used plain old white salt that we purchased in the grocery store for our food. Now there are all kinds of fancy salts to buy including rock salt, sea salt, and even some kind of pink salt. They say that those fancy ones are healthier than the old white powder. I hope so because they sure cost more. That said, I can guarantee one thing, I will never put that fishy salt on my food. Yuck. It is worth nothing except to be tossed out and walked on.
Jesus said that Christians are the salt of the earth. We don't have to try to be, we just are. The question is what kind of salt we choose to be. I want to be that healthy kind. I don't want to be fishy salt with sand mixed in. May our lives be filled with flavor, with healing though perhaps a little irritating, with a sense of preservation, with tears for the wounded, with value to add to those around us, with cleansing. May we not be fishy salt.
Patrick and Vicki Weimer in Iceland since 1999