Lent Bible Challenge | Day 32
This large section is actually 2 stories told immediately by Jesus in the context of the experience of a community meal and then a follow-up teaching later (in my opinion). Jesus is at a meal with the high-holy-rollers, the prominent in the religious world - which means the whole world - in Jesus' context. Everyone is scheming and working to sit in the places of honor, because 1) they deserve it and/or 2) doing so will make others think more highly of them. Jesus takes that on - not just in the context of the meal - but in the wider context of the community and the experience of faith. Holiness - being spiritually grounded and knowing God personally and experientially doesn't have to do with status, literacy, or even quite possibly familiarity with the religious (ie. scriptural) past. It has to do with being open to what God is doing and will do. Jesus is focused on the present-future, saying that God doesn't belong to - nor is understood - by the establishement. It's not anything-goes, nor is Jesus throwing the baby out with the bathwater in terms of faith community experience. Yet he is saying something new about access to God, experience of the holy and participation in God's emerging will in the world. I wonder how upset those around the table were when they got that he was talking to them.
SALT - it's the image Jesus gives here (and elsewhere) for people of faith - an element that is powerful and common, holy and every-day-ordinary: used for preserving food (the refrigeration system of the ancient world), for bring flavor, for bringing our flavor, for destroying land (as the Romans did to obstinate North Africa) and nearly as precious as gold in those days as a trading commodity. In short it's the essence of every day life, tying the ordinary to the extraordinary, the profane to the sacred, the here and now to the still to come. Maybe we need to think about that radical integration of the purpose and passion of salt in terms of how we live our faith today - not just condsider it (as I always heard) as an invitation to be "on fire" for God.