Monday, July 16, 2012

Salt: Don't Lose Your Flavor

                This past week, I spent time in the town I lived in during my high school years.  Due to extenuating circumstances, I went to the church I attended in those formative years though I have since become Catholic.  My memory does not serve me well; I haven’t a clue the last time I went to a protestant service.  Never have I taken my daughter to one.  Her two comments: “They sing a lot” and “Mom, it is so cool; me and another boy were the only two who have been baptized.”  My take on the service did go a bit deeper and I am trying to apply it to my life. 
The minister spoke of salt.  He flipped through his entire Bible giving all of us a lot of different verses about salt.  We, as Christians, are to maintain our flavor of saltiness/Christianity.  We are to guard this taste.  There are three similar passages in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  I like Mark’s the best.  “Everyone will be salted with fire.  Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor?  Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another” 9:49-50.  Since listening to Pastor Phil’s sermon, I keep thinking about how he said we must protect our salt.  I didn’t do so well.
                All of us have people in our life that wear on our flavoring.  I have a relationship that can say all the right things to push all the wrong buttons of my personality.  Within a very short time, I can feel my salt running out of me leaving me depleted of physical energy, mental power, and self-worth due to the negativity that seems to wrap its tentacles all around me.  In the past twenty years, I have distanced myself.  With working fulltime and my family, I could keep my visits short.  Now that I am retired, I have no excuse not to spend more time in the presence of my button pusher.  I have to add my guilt keeps pushing me into staying longer.  Instead, I need to do smaller visits to keep my salt in tack.
                By the end of my stay, I had hateful thoughts, harsh words, and a total lack of love in my heart.  My salt had completely left me.  There was not peace.  I no longer felt like I followed in Christ’s footsteps; instead, he had to pick me up and carry me back home both physically and metaphorically.  I failed in my showing the world who Jesus is.  He still loves me though and I feel him working his healing in me.  Today I have my self-worth back if not a little bruised.  I am back to my go, go, go daily routine.  Hum, the mental power is debatable with all the misspelled words (thank you God for spell check), but I think it is doing better as well.  So, besides shorter visits, how do I protect my salt?
I like the side comment of Luke’s salt passage the best.  “The simile of salt follows the saying of Jesus that demanded of the disciple total dedication and detachment from family and possessions and illustrates the condition of one who does not display this total commitment.  The halfhearted disciple is like salt that cannot serve its intended purpose.”  Wow, there is a lot of stuff here.  I definitely ended my stay in my home town as a halfhearted disciple.  I went there totally dedicated but left only partially dedicated.  Detachment.  What a hard word to put into practice.  I should be detached from the negative comments, the crudely expressed sayings/words, and the other spoken commentary that leaches the taste from my salt.  Normally, I can do this, but only for a short time.
My journey to holiness faulted quite a bit this past week.  I am hoping I grew after all is said and done.  I pray I am back on the right path.  We all stumble along the way.  But if we keep going to Jesus to keep us salty, I believe we will all find our way to sainthood.
Blessings to you all.

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