Tuesday, March 23

Lenten Meditations 2012

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Tuesday, March 23

Psalm [120], 121, 122, 123; Exod. 5:1-6:1; 1 Cor. 14:20-33a, 39-40; Mark 9:42-50

Mark 9:42-50

And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where " 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'Everyone will be salted with fire. "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."

Salt is referenced many times throughout the Bible. Salt today is plentiful. But in the Bible salt is a precious commodity. Salt added flavor to food that would normally be bland without it. Salt was a crucial means of preserving food. If salt became contaminated then it had lost its value.

Jesus is saying that, like a living salt, our presence should in some way make the world a better place or, in other words, further the Kingdom of Heaven. God’s love in us can bring richness and hope (flavor) to the lives of those who feel empty inside. God working through us can minister to (preserve) the sick and needy. But there is a caution here that we, like salt, can become contaminated and cease to be vessels for God in the world.

To me the analogy of salt gives clarity to the difficult preceding verses. Is Jesus literally telling us to cut out our eyes or cut off our hands if they lead to us to sin? If so, there are going to be a lot of maimed Christians in this world. Rather, I believe He is saying that when we lead others to sin, or are apathetic toward sin in our own lives, we are spoiling the “salt” of Gods love that resides in each of us. This love, which Christ embodies, is what we should embrace and share so that we may “be at peace with each other as well as with ourselves.”

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