Portrait of Christ,
Salt Art by Rob Ferrel,
Executed in 2016,
Salt on wood table
© Rob Ferell artist
You are the salt of the earth
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.
‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’
Reflection on the salt artwork
Jesus tells his disciples today that they are the ‘salt of the earth’. Salt was very valuable in the ancient world. The Greeks thought it contained something touching on the divine, and the Romans sometimes paid their soldiers with salt. The Romans even said when a soldier didn't carry out his duties that he was 'not worth his salt’.
Jesus used the salt analogy in the context of discipleship. Salt has two main qualities: it preserves and it flavours. Salt preserves, and thus we are called as Christians to help preserve what is good in the culture. In order to fully fulfil its preserving qualities, the salt must be in contact with the substance (meat or fish for example). So must we as disciples be in close touch with the culture that surrounds us in order to preserve the good that is present in that culture.
Salt also flavours. As Christians, we can bring the distinctive flavouring of God's values to all we do in life. Each of us can thus make life more tasty, more exciting, more colourful and joyful. Like with all that Jesus teaches us, our ‘salt’ is not only in the witness of the words we speak, but also in the witness of our deeds.
That is what our faith does. It flavours, it enhances, it transforms the quality of human life. Faith isn’t meant to be a substitute for what is natural and good. It brings the best in what is already there around us.
In 2016 there was a rage to create art with table salt, so called ‘Salt Art’. The internet raged with the art trend. Our work here is by Mexican born artist Rob Ferrel (illustrated here with his work), who became one of the most prolific Salt Art artists. His day job is being a barber in Los Angeles. This salt art cannot be sold. It is made and when shared over the internet, it disappears again into a salt tin. It is momentary art created in a fleeting moment, but perpetuated through the internet….
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