This is my precious salt pot bought in Assisi that lives by my cooker and each time I see it evokes good memories. However, I don’t use it that much. The only public pronouncements I tend to see about salt encourage me to be really careful of it in my diet. When Jesus says “You are the salt of the earth” in Matthew 5 (the lectionary reading for this coming sunday) I am assuming he is not meaning – you are to be avoided because too much of you is bad for your health! Occasionally when I read what some Christians are saying I might be tempted to go for that interpretation! It does show however, that an understanding of the culture from the time of writing is important!
The Roman author Pliny said that there is nothing more useful than salt or sunshine. Salt was used in sacrifices and was a symbol associated with covenants between God and God’s people (Lev. 2:13), it was a seasoning for food Job 6:6) and was a preservative. In the Greek it is in plural form, we together are the salt of the earth. Clearly Jesus meant it as a good thing and in reading commentaries on this passage one of the things which comes across is that as Jesus’ followers we find our identity and mission in our covenantal relationship with God. So while I don’t use my salt pot much for seasoning food it does remind me of who I am in God and what I am called to be.