Thursday, April 19, 2012

Please pass the salt.

The Word for today:
Mark 9:30-50

Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves... (Mark 9:50)

The sins that get the most attention are known as sins of commission. They are sins that we do: we get drunk, we have adulterous affairs, we gossip, we surf porn sites, we steal, and we kill. These sins of commission are the sins that make the six o’clock news.

Not as newsworthy, but just as spiritually grievous, are sins of omission. They are the things we don’t do: we don’t forgive, we don’t help when we should, we don’t stand up against evil, we don’t give a damn when a damn should be given. It’s hard to show something that didn’t happen on the 11 o’clock news, so while sins of omission generate sermons and preachy editorials, they don’t generate as much buzz as sins of commission do.

But the sins of commission or omission are just surface sins compared with sins of being.

Don’t look up the term, because I just made it up. These sins are not about what we do or don’t do, but about who we are.

Jesus alludes to these under-the-surface sins in today’s reading when he says,

Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? (Mark 9:30)

I make soups and stews, so I know how bland they are without salt. So I think (1) that Jesus is urging us to let his influence permeate our being like salt permeates a stew and gives it savor, flavor, taste, and tang.

In other words, let’s bring some zing, some zest, a little showmanship, and a bit o’ flair to our lives. You may not think this sounds sufficiently spiritual until you consider this: we are Jesus to the world. He is, to the unsaved world, what we are.

That’s a sobering reality, because the church has achieved the antimiraculous: we have managed, by and large, to present a bland Jesus to the world.

We have been so consumed with doing -- or not doing -- the surface stuff that we’ve forgotten to let his Person permeate to the core.

If we want the world to taste and see that the LORD is good (2), then we must, as Jesus said, have salt in ourselves. (Mark 9:50)

So, for myself and for the entire church, I pray, “Please pass the salt.”

(1) If you peruse the commentaries, you will see various interpretations of this passage. Most of them mention salt’s preservative properties and derive their interpretation from there. But, silly me, I read the word flavor and I hear Jesus mentioning salt’s seasoning properties. So I’ll go with my unschooled eye and ear, and derive my interpretation from there.
(2) Psalm 34:8

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