Preserving Agents

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness,
how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything,
except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
 Matthew 5:13
Nitrites, butylated hydroxyl toluene, butylated hydroxy anisol, citric acid and calcium propionate are common chemicals found in foods. While these hard-to-pronounce additives do not sound appetizing, they are useful in extending the shelf life of most foods we consume.
In the ancient world — especially before refrigeration — there was one chemical that was prized above all others for its preserving power: salt. The use of the term “salary” comes from the Latin word for salt. This is because the Romans often paid their employees’ wages with salt. As something that is so accessible (found on the tables in most restaurants), it is hard to appreciate the immense importance salt had in the ancient world. It helped preserve food from contamination and spoiling, and could mean the difference between life and death.
When Jesus tells His disciples that they are the “salt of the Earth” in Matthew 5, He has in mind salt’s value in keeping things pure. Christians are to do all they can to keep the world from decaying. This means that the call to follow Jesus entails more than simply living for oneself. It is a call to love others and to love the world.
As you begin your day, perhaps you might think of what is good that needs to be preserved. Is it a relationship that needs to be mended? Is it your physical health that needs to be addressed? Perhaps it is your spiritual health? There is much that is good that needs to be preserved, and many things are decaying that need to be made whole. Whatever needs your attention today, remember that God has called and empowered you to be an agent of good in this world. Today, you are given a wonderful opportunity to participate in God’s redemptive mission!
“Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served but to serve: Bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom, patience, and courage, they may minister in his Name to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.” (“The Book of Common Prayer,” p.260).
The Rev. Alex D. Graham III
Associate for Children and Family Ministries
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