It was great fun when as children we played among the barrels in the fish curers yard. The women gutted the herring with strips of cloth wrapped around their fingers to protect their fingers from the rough salt. However the salt was the preservative and it was poured on lavishly. It was all over the herring like snow bullets and as they were packed in the barrels layer upon layer.
When the barrel was full it was sealed tight and when it was opened many months later the salt had all disappeared and all that could be seen was liquid brine all over the herring. Nevertheless the salt had done its work and the herring were preserved, in those days where there were no fridges or freezers.
In other words the beautiful white salt had lost its identity, it had turned into a smelly horrible looking liquid, but it had performed its function.
Makes one wonder if sometimes in the church we are not too concerned with our identity and not enough on our function. Keeping up the image, having the right appearance, saying and doing the right things, is fine and honourable. However are we really functioning as the salt of the earth? Does the soul preserving attributes of the Holy Spirit flow through us to penetrate the weary and hurting?
The salt started of like snow bullets each with its own individuality and identity. But to perform its function it slowly melted into liquid brine, which after fulfilling its purpose would be poured out.
I can only remember the one line of an old hymn and I cannot remember its title or author but it stated, "If I lose my life, I'll find it Lord in you.
Read more articles by David Ritchie or search for articles on the same topic or others.