Bread – Saltiness

April 29, 2013


Readings for Monday, April 29, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: *; Col. 3:18-4:18; Luke 7:36-50; Psalms 56,57,58,64,65

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I was commenting on something political on television this morning, giving my conservative running commentary on the liberal television press coverage. My wife told me to listen to myself, and I realized upon reflection that I was beginning to sound like those old men who do nothing but complain, who critique but provide no solutions, and who sound like the only thing we care about is making our intellectual points.

In my prayer time, I addressed this issue before God, being reminded by Him that, if we are to be His followers, we must speak in truth and love, well-balanced, with tongues which reflect glory to God and not ourselves.

And then, just to make sure the point is not lost, God gave me the Scripture we have assigned for today from 500+ years ago. In Colossians, Paul tells his readers – “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Col. 4:5-6

Gracious speech, seasoned with salt. Not salt seasoned with gracious speech.

The word “gracious” here is the Greek “charis,” meaning the kind of favor done without expectation of any benefit in return, a love of the person to whom you are speaking without condition.

Gracious speech, seasoned with salt. Loving speech, flavored with the truth.

Gracious speech is therefore the base, and the truth adds to its strength and power and does not subtract from it.

Who reading this has failed to add any salt to a dish, resulting in it being bland and unattractive? Who reading this has added too much salt to the dish, rendering it nasty and rejected?

Too little salt and there is nothing in gracious speech except pap and nonsense. Too much salt and gracious speech is made unacceptable in any form.

Why, then, do we turn from gracious speech seasoned with salt toward angry speech, overwhelmed with salt?

Perhaps it is related to what Jesus says today in Luke – “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Lk. 7:47

Maybe when our speech reaches toxic levels of salinity, we need to ask ourselves a question – have we been forgiven much or little? The man full of himself always thinks “little,” even if with his lips he says “much.” The man who knows himself, who knows that without Christ he is spiritually dead, will realize the foolishness of the question, because every sin is a great sin before God. It is only before man that sins take on proportions (so that my sin is always less than his). Therefore, we have all been forgiven much.

But if we have been forgiven much, where is the gracious speech seasoned with salt?

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© 2013 GBF

*The Book of Common Prayer reading marked by the asterisk today is from Wisdom, which is a book of the Apocrypha. Since not all Christians recognize this collection of books as appropriate Scriptural reading, it is omitted.

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