Salt is such precious stuff. It is not food, but it is essential for food. It purifies, it preserves, it seasons. It is a crystalline mineral, found mainly in seawater as the main mineral ingredient. On our precious earth it is important for survival - being so essential it became not just an important article of trade but also at times the reason for war over it. Salt is used in the kitchen and in religious ceremonies, it is in use in the East and the West - it is everywhere.
Jesus teaches his audience - that is, us - that we are the salt of the earth. The ingredient that everyone needs for survival, the stuff that purifies, preserves and seasons. Anyone who listens to Jesus' teachings of the oneness of God and man is evidently salty. But how does the salt get into the food - and what does that have to do with us? Are we salty enough - noticeable in our expression of good? Is our thought purified and spiritualized enough to make a difference much as salt does in food? Are we really throwing ourselves into the world - not wandering or settling for less, letting a million injustices or sorrows appear on the mental scene without responding with prayer? "Pass the salt" might the world say.
Recently I could see more clearly that Jesus sees our spiritual identity as distinct from our material history. The salt is different - it is not the food itself, and in the same way Spirit is the one power that is really apart from everything else. The salt is pure - and so are we. We are free from a mortal self, free to feel the oneness with our Father-Mother God.
So how are we the salt of the earth? What could spiritual salt be? How are you salty?
Where is the distinct individual voice of moral courage? The tender willingness to walk the second mile? The quiet deed of good that helps to alleviate some negative streak, some sadness? There is something trenchant about "being salt", something unerring and precise. To be salt is not to be sugar. To be salt is to be distinct from a material sense of life, dull, always the same routine, predictable, boring. To be salt means to be individual, aromatic and flavored. You now when there is salt in the soup and when it is missing. Salt is noticed.
As spiritual thinkers we are salty when we use the three distinct qualities of salt in a spiritual way daily: We purify our motives, our hearts and our thinking to let Spirit move our days forward in a distinctly spiritual way. We preserve God-given qualities, such as courage, kindness, watchfulness, and perception. We are ready to season the dull days of materialism without spiritual glow by lifting thought up to the spiritual concept of day where spirituality dawns and freedom is perceived to be the natural habitat of man. We have a salty heritage of Spirit.
In "Miscellaneous Writings" Mary Baker Eddy writes (p. 110): "Beloved children, the world has need of you,—and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind!"
Gentleness is having the power but deliberately not using it. Gentleness is self-control - expressed in calm and a confidence in the presence of God. It is a trust that God is meaningful. Gentleness is a disposition in sync with the larger picture. Gentleness is a virtue backed up by what the Bible calls, I find, the power of the Holy Spirit. The activity, vitality, life-inducing, life-empowering action of Good. It is something that exists - not as dream, but as a reality. Anybody expressing gentleness has the power to refrain from retaliation and engages in peacebuilding. The prerogative of the Holy Spirit. "A gentle answer turns away wrath" says Proverbs 15:1.
Gentleness does not encourage others to do what they want. Gentleness means that the power is on the side of good. And that you know that. So whatever others choose to do - gentleness is what you choose to do. Because you can.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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