Permission to be Salty!
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 9:49-50
Remember that the ancients used salt for purification, preservation, and seasoning. With this in mind, let us turn to three sayings from Jesus about salinity.
First, we get what appears to be a contrasting statement in verse 49. Fire is the thing associated with the ultimate results of sin (the tortures of the unquenchable fire), and salt is a thing that purifies and preserves (a taste of the Kingdom). Salt and fire together give you an image of a season of purification before coming into the Kingdom of God.
Second, you get a statement that salt (purification) is good. But if it stops being salty, how can you return to salinity? The answer is sitting right there teaching them. This statement is one of the last that Mark records Jesus saying before they leave for Judea (Jerusalem), and we know what awaits him there; he’s already told them twice what is coming; the sublime mystery of the cross.
Lastly, Jesus permits them to be salty, and therefore, together, they should be at peace (complete, whole, fulfilled). It’s another way of telling them to love and care for one another; after all, they will need it with what is coming!
These are a good reminder for Christians in the Lenten Season and beyond. We are in a season of purification, journeying toward the profound mysteries of both the cross and empty tomb. Let us cling to one another and be “salty” as we wait for the Lord’s return when all creation is made truly pure.
I want to be salty! Help me teach others to be salty. Help us care for one another in our common cause in your name.
I pray in the name of the Purifier. Amen!