|Home > Sermons > Salt of the Earth|
Salt of the Earth
I like to use real chillies for my chilli con carne, preferably the fiery green ones that have a warning on the packet saying “handle only with gloves.” I ignore that, of course, as well as any recipe instructions about removing the seeds and simply enjoy chopping lots of them up (you need quite a few) and tossing them in. Around five or so minutes before serving, there is a moment when I add two or three squares of very dark chocolate and gently stir them into the bubbling mixture. I can’t explain how, but this addition develops the depth and fruitiness of the chilli flavour, adding a rich velvety nuance to the finished dish.
Salt has been prized for centuries not simply for its taste, nor for its essential place in our diet but for the “magic” that occurs when it is added to other foods, allowing or causing their flavours to blossom fully and to unify them in a special and particular way. There is something mysterious in this, that is neither chilli nor chocolate, neither salt nor beef, something hidden, exciting and inexplicable that adds another dimension to our eating experience.
Paul speaks of the same sort of mystery, he realises and tells us that the mystery of God is not imparted by lofty words of wisdom, nor received by peerless logic or rhetoric but that even so we do speak and receive God’s wisdom; the wisdom that is secret and hidden, decreed before the beginning of time.
The passage written to the Corinthians taken with our Gospel, “You are the salt of the earth,” is immensely encouraging. And of course this is our experience. I meet many people in very widely differing circumstances; from the joy of a recent betrothal to the sadness of an unexpected sudden loss. What is constantly true is that God puts us in the right place at the right time. It is, it seems to me, very often the things that we are unaware of, the things we do not say, the mysterious and inexplicable chemistry between men and women that opens a door to our recognition of God’s presence. God is always there but sometimes to open the ears of our hearts a little salt is needed, and when we catch those moments, when he is allowed or caused to blossom within us wonderful things happen.
So I would say that we should have confidence, confidence as Paul says in our “weakness, fear and much trembling”, confidence that we are the salt and that God will work through us in ways that we cannot explain or plan or understand.
This is why, for example, I have asked members of our congregation to say the intercessory prayers, not because I do not want to pray with you, not simply because it is good to have another voice but because each of us speaks differently. There are different intonations, different pauses, a different pace and this allows us as we listen and pray to catch, from time to time, a new flavour, a nuance; something we may not have tasted before that God wants us to know at that moment. The same is true of reading the lesson and you see it is mysterious.
One time after I had read the Gospel, Colin came up to me and said “I have never heard anyone put a comma in the last line of that reading before. You know it made it much clearer for me.” Well let me tell you that if I did insert a comma, it was entirely subconsciously, but God was working that morning.
So please do not “hide your light under a bushel.” I have put the reading rotas into the pigeon holes and I would like to develop one for intercessions too. If you would like to be on either, to swap one for another, or to be on both please let me know. I am not going to put out a sign up list but ask you please to chat to me over coffee or give me a call so that we can talk it through and maybe make you feel more at ease.
You never know you may just be the square of dark chocolate is someone’s chilli.