Salt and Light

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

Matthew 5:13, ESV

As I was driving home from the Granades’ house tonight, I was muddling through things when I had this thought: because Jesus goes on to talk about the saltiness of salt, we think about its taste. I’m left with the strong suspicion, however, that being the salt of the earth has nothing to do with providing flavor to the world. The world already has a melange of flavors: overly sweet, bitter, sour. When I think of being “salty”, I go to Merriam-Webster’s third definition: piquant, earthy, crude. Certainly this isn’t what Jesus meant right after reciting the Beatitudes.

I think it has more to do with salt’s preservative abilities. Taken in slightly larger context:

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:12-14, ESV

If we’re the city set on a hill, I think we’re being preservative.

I could, of course, be quite wrong…