St. Mary-the-Virgin, News for Sunday 9th February 2020: The salt of the earth.
Last week we said farewell to our dear friend Norman Beszant as he made his final journey to be with Our Father in Heaven. Norman was the kind of person who many would describe as “the salt of the earth” – a person of great kindness, reliability, honesty, integrity – qualities which we would greatly admire in any of our friends and colleagues. This Sunday, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we discover the origin of that very phrase, and it is in the fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.”
It is difficult to understand quite what Jesus is saying, unless we have some knowledge of the value that salt carried two thousand years ago. It was a valuable trading comodity, and often people were paid in salt. This week’s Sunday Message tells us that the word “salary” refers to the Latin word “sal” which means salt.
Would you take it as a compliment if someone referred to you as “the salt of the earth”? Perhaps we would get very embarassed and some people may get quite offended, thinking that it referred to age or “old fashioned” qualities. Jesus is obviously using it to commend his disciples; but it comes with the warning: if it becomes tasteless, it is good for nothing. We all possess different skills, talents and qualities that have been given to us by God. If we do not use them, then it is like salt becoming tastleless. Jesus goes on to say: “No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house.”
What skills, talents and qualities are we using to grow the Kingdom of God? There are so many things that would help us in our Mission at St Mary’s – to take the Good News and share it with the people of Kenton: whether that is in singing in the choir, serving at the altar, reading from scripture or saying the intercessions, cleaning the church, gardening in the memorial garden – there is plenty for everyone to do. It may be even farther afield, such as praying for those who are oppressed and unjustly imprisoned around the world. You can read about the work of ACAT (Harrow) in their latest Newsletter. But if we hide our talents, then it is like the salt becoming tasteless. Pray earnestly for direction on how you can shine your light in the sight of all people and let us aspire to be “the salt of the earth” so that, in seeing your good works, people will come to give praise to Our Father in Heaven.