11 May 2014

Salt of the Earth

We gather up the necessities:  sun hats, sun screen, water (yes, lots of water), sunglasses, car keys, mission story book.  

The sun beats down hot, but we know we need to get out in nature whether it's 95 out or not, so we simply prepare as best we can and give ourselves permission to come home again even if we get hot sooner than we'd like.  Since the drive away from the city noises takes the better part of an hour, we've fallen into the routine of using the time to read stories of faith.  

This trip?  We're reading a story from Showers of Grasshoppers about African cotton farmers who might lose everything if they stay true to their faith.  I make it a habit to come to suspenseful ends of chapters and close the book as if I am going to stop reading, because every time I do my husband throws the most adorable fit and begs me to keep going. 

We wander out past the outhouses that used to be infested with black widow spiders, down the path lined with blooming cacti, past the bird lookout station, out onto the salt.  It hasn't rained in a few weeks, and the salt is at its most impressive yet--large square crystals melded together like a sheet of chunky ice.

I think of those people in the book, and even though I don't know the end of the story yet because we really did have to stop reading when we arrived at the dusty parking lot, I feel sure some of those people will risk everything to honor God's commandments, claiming His promises.

These faithful ones must be who Jesus meant when He said "Ye are the salt of the earth."  

Out here on the salt flats, I think differently about what that means than I ever have before.  This salt isn't just a flavor bringing out the best in the food on my plate.  It's an entity that grows, filling in holes and gaps in the sand, changing what life forms survive in its presence and what life forms don't.  Even when the water rises, the salt doesn't wash away.  It simply changes the character of the water.

As our hour and twenty minutes in nature (the length of time it takes to get too hot to be out in it any longer) washes away the stress of a week, I pray I will become like this salt.  Always fully present, so constant in character that no matter what floods or droughts inundate my life, my surroundings will indeed be tangibly changed by the strength of my faith.

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