Mark 9:38-50 (NRSV)
Verse 38John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." Verse 39But Jesus said, "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Verse 40Whoever is not against us is for us. Verse 41For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
Verse 42"If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. Verse 43If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. Verse 45And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. Verse 47And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, Verse 48where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
Verse 49"For everyone will be salted with fire. Verse 50Salt 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."
There was a point in my life when I felt I had lost all confidence about who I was. I became someone I was not. I was depressed. This was not a good time in my life. I was searching for myself. I had faith; I felt loved by friends and family, but I seemed to have lost touch with who I was. Somewhere between college and seminary I got my confidence back and I felt excited about learning to be me. When I read verses 49-50, I thus see salt as meaning confidence in oneself. With a sense of confidence about who I am, I found I was able to listen to others in my congregations and not be threatened by their ideas. Along with the church council, we sought to say “yes” to many creative ideas on how to contribute to the community around us and to God’s world.
Holy Spirit, guide us to a confidence about who we are so that when we hear new ideas by others, they do not threaten us. May we work together in helping ministry happen in many creative ways. Amen.