Jesus was talking about who was in and who was out, and what credentials a person needed to be part of the movement to bring people into God’s realm of healing, justice and peace on earth. He said, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Then he talked about how awful it is to shut someone out or lead someone away, or to fall off of the sacred way ourselves. It is living hell, he said. He ended with this mysterious teaching: “Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
What is our salt? What is our essence, our core meaning? What is that part of us that enables us to live at peace with one another, a salt that clearly can lose its saltiness so that we live in disharmony and even kill one another and destroy the planet that is the source of our lives?
How can we discover what this salt is and how can we be sure to have this salt in us? These are crucial questions for us as individuals and as a civilization and species. We will explore possible answers this Sunday in worship and affirm our desire to live in the sacred way that Jesus taught and modeled for us.
If you are interested in doing a little homework before the service, you could watch the prize winning film shown on PBS and available to watch on Amazon or YouTube, Journey of the Universe. It provides one of the lenses through which we will explore Jesus’ teaching (and E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web provides another). Journey of the Universe is narrated by Brian Swimme and co-written with him by Mary Evelyn Tucker, who with her husband, John Grim, leads the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology.
We will look at what three scripture passages tell us about having salt in us, Psalm 19:7-14, James 5:13-20 and Mark 9:38-50. We will sing “Take My Life and Let It Be,” “Creating God, Your Fingers Trace” and a beautiful Mendelssohn tune with words by Harriet Beecher Stowe, “Still, Still With Thee.” The choir will sing “Spirit of the Living God” and the sweeping John Rutter anthem, “Look at the World” and the congregation will be invited to sing with the choir the choral benediction, “God Be in My Head.” Pianist Annemieke McLane will play three pieces by François Couperin.
Below are two versions of the Rutter anthem, one with stunning photography and the other with Rutter conducting a massive choir.