I suppose Bob and I are at that age where we should be skimping on the sodium. I’ve cooked low fat for so many years, no problem that. But cooking low salt?? Man, that’s just plain HARD! I know, whine, whine. I guess we could just live on celery…
…until I found out that celery is a culprit for gout. Then there’s all the fuss about sugar.
My daughters try to tell us that flavor in food is actually not a bad thing. Now, c’mon, in our defense we do have flavor, but really there’s just nothing quite like salt. After all, there is one whole section of taste buds on the tongue devoted to “saltiness”. Evidently, it was pretty important back in ancient times also, for more than mere flavoring:
“…You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.”
If you were to read that passage in the King James, it would be written in red ink. I ask myself, what makes Jesus say that; what connection does salt have with “living in peace with each other”?
Now, in my childhood, my parents’ typical response, like so many of my generation, would have been (can all those over 50 say it together, please??…)
“…Look it up!”
Back then, that meant a boring dictionary, or (in our household) the Encyclopedia Americana, which had very small print and very few pictures. I no longer go to my parents with such questions (we know what they’re going to say anyway, right??), so naturally, I turn to that fine repository of collective human knowledge—AKA, Wikipedia—which informs me that salt was used not just to make the manna taste good, but for several other reasons as well:
- As a preservative, adding salt made things last longer in a climate that would otherwise cause spoilage. If you’ve ever eaten something you thought was nourishing and ended up with food poisoning instead (or taken care of a loved one in that situation—ask me how I know this), you’ll graphically understand this point without much explanation.
- As a disinfectant (I bet THAT was fun). Thus the old saying, “like rubbing salt in a wound”. We know longer do this, thankfully, but evidently in the absence of other options, it was considered an important medicinal tool.
- As “a component of ceremonial offerings”. I suppose it would make sense, considering how important it was to daily life, that such a valuable substance would be a part of an offering to God, but I see it also that we offer ourselves to each other in sacrificial service, that whole “laying down our lives” in so many daily creative ways. (Just ask a mom…)
That’s the salt part; now for the connection with “living in peace” or harmony, as the Amplified Bible puts it. Clearly, as one progresses through the history of Jesus’ interactions, His definition of peace is not one of unqualified tolerance. Not by a long shot.
Evidently, when it comes to Jesus’ idea of peace, we need all three components of this saltiness in both our relationship with God and with each other: preservative, disinfectant, and offering from the taints and soils of the world. Let’s face it, all three can hurt! At least initially, but the alternative is really much nastier. (Coming from a nurse….I’ll spare you the details.)
So, okay, pass the salt. It adds more than taste, and at the fellowship table of His family, He says it’s a “must”.
Mark 9:50 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.