Tuesday 9th March 2021
‘Too much salt!’
Salt (40% sodium & 60% chloride) is a staple ingredient in cooking and essential for healthy functioning of the human body. Sodium is essential for muscle and nerve function. Together with chloride, it also helps the body maintain proper water and mineral balance. Yet, despite its essential functions, too much salt can have a damaging effect on the body. One person who suffered too much salt was the Old Testament character Lot's wife. Rather than excessive consumption, the story goes that on fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's wife stopped, looked back as the cities were being destroyed and was turned into a pillar of salt!
Within the Jewish tradition, there are several ways of understanding the curious story of Lot’s wife. These include punishment for disobeying the angels' warning. By looking back at the "evil cities," she betrayed her secret longing for that way of life. Another legend says that because Lot's wife sinned with salt, she was punished with salt. On the night, the two angels visited Lot, he requested that his wife prepare a feast for them. Not having any salt, Lot's wife asked her neighbours for salt, which alerted them to the presence of their guests, resulting in the mob action that endangered Lot's family. It is also thought this ancient narrative was based on a folk story that explained a geographical feature known as Lot’s wife, located on Mount Sodom near the Dead Sea. With the Christian tradition, Jesus used a reference to Lot’s wife as a warning about compliancy in relation to God’s judgment.
Genesis 19: 23-26
By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Luke 17: 30-36
Remember Lot’s wife
‘It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding corn together; one will be taken and the other left.’
Stories about God’s judgment do not make easy reading. They are not meant too! However, we need to tread carefully here. We cannot understand God’s judgement with fully grasping the depth and breadth of His love. Jesus’ death on the cross was to pay the price for human sin and make forgiveness and eternal life accessible for all. God will do everything possible to bring us safe home to glory. But like sound dietary advice that advises against excessive consumption of salt and warns of the long-term damage to human health, we also need to do our bit! So sparingly season your fish supper and firmly grasp God’s grace when it is revealed to you!
You call us to wake from sleep,
to become aware to our surroundings.
The dawn of a new time of preparation is upon us.
Forgive us when sleepiness takes its toll,
when our discussions become battles,
when our judgement and self-judgement outweigh our faith.
Let us put on the light of Christ
and live as You have called us
in respect, in mutual dialogue, and in healthy living.
Help us so that everything we do reflects Christ’s light. Amen.
W e thank you, loving God,
that you do not leave us without helpers.
thank for your special agents, those guardian angels—
both human and heavenly—who never cease to care.
Wherever there are situations of confusion,
where doubts proliferate and anxieties spawn,
please send in your angels of light.
Wherever people are crippled by guilt,
or deeply regret damage to others which they can never rectify,
send in your angels of mercy.
Wherever there is arrogance and deceit,
corruption and rapacious greed,
send in your fiery angels of judgement.
Wherever ignorance reigns
or superstition cripples individuals or communities,
please send in your angels of truth.
Wherever persons or nations become obsessed with aggression,
or resort to terrorism and warfare,
send in your agents of peace and goodwill.
Wherever families are at loggerheads,
or in the workplace folk feel alienated from one another,
send in your angels of reconciliation.
Wherever people see their future as bleak or dangerous,
and fall into the trap of inertia or despair,
please send in your angels of hope.
Wherever the church becomes exclusive,
or gets caught up in its own regulations, traditions, or inflexible dogma,
send in your angels of reformation.
Wherever ministers lose their passion for the Gospel,
or congregations become self-satisfied or apathetic,
please send in your angels of rebuke.
Wherever there are people who are afflicted by disease
or injured in accidents,
struggle against mental ills
or suffer from criminal violence,
send in your angels of healing.
Wherever the dying endure fears or pain,
and the bereaved either shed the hot tears of a fresh grief
or endure the long-term loss of a partner or friend,
send in your angels of comfort.
Lord of all the messengers of grace on earth and in heaven,
hear our prayers and enlist us, please God,
within the ranks of your caring angels.
Through Jesus Christ your only True Son,
our Saviour and our inspiration.
May God the Father,
who does not despise the broken spirit,
give to you a contrite heart.
who bore our sins in his body on the tree,
heal you by his wounds.
May the Holy Spirit,
who leads us into all truth,
speak to you words of pardon and peace.
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.