Mark 9:49

For it is by fire that everyone will be salted. 


fire as condiment
breaks our first impression
until we remember
chicharrón
roast corn
anything grilled

fire as testing
asks for a retreat
to remember
beginnings
continuings
contextual details

fire for everyone
get yours here
get it now
its been on its way
forever and a day
present just on time


Mann383 says, “The best way to describe the textual evidence for this verse is to say it is confused.” Later he adds, “The translation of the verse as it stands presents no difficulty, but the interpretation is a very different matter, and many and various have been the attempts at interpretation.”

The Scholar’s Version reads, “As you know, everyone there is salted by fire.” Schmidt104, notes: “Some mss add: And every sacrifice will be salted by fire, apparently an attempted explanation based on Lev 2:13, “Ever sacrifice shall be seasoned by salt.”

These variants remind us that scripture continues to be a living thing that calls us to discern that which is helpful within it and that which needs to be pruned. Non-standard approaches can be helpful and may even be required to clear away accumulated debris from the bones of scripture.

Salt has long been used as a tool for healing. Fire or cauterization is the final stage of amputation before care for the wound can begin. Together, “salt which cleanses and fire which refines” (Waetjen162) mark a worm’s turning. Together, they are a sign of purification (a leaving of the past and entering a vision of a better tomorrow)—see Ezekiel 42:23-24.

The journey leading to this particular teaching returns to the sending out of the Twelve. Their going forth with humility enough to be welcomed on a basis beyond what they (or we) bring, is a cutting off of their (or our) competition with one another and/or privileging themselves (or ourselves) over any little one. This brings forth other images of a call to fish where there are no fish; as salt seasoning another’s life; and as fire beckoning and warming lost or frozen lives anywhere.

Alone or partnered, a change in life leads to more change.

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