light and salt and savory crab cheesecake and me


Yesterday’s gospel was for foodies.  It was about salt and light, bushels and mindfulness.  The crab, cream cheese, red peppers, eggs, onions and heavy cream in this savory crab cheesecake are all delicious; but add a pinch of salt and they all pop because the salt activates our taste-buds.  This is an old trick of our evolutionary biology.  We need salt as beings made up mostly of water and a bit of calcium. We need salt to retain our water and live.  So why not form a body which craves salt? And why not create a body which rewards the ingestion of salt by giving the body and mind a small treat when salt is ingested?  Taste.

When scriptures (books, Bibles, people, the planet…) call us to be salt and light in the world, they are inviting us to simply be who we are.  For most of my growing up years I was trying to be who my parents wanted me to be and then who my employers wanted me to be and then who my church wanted me to be and then who my friends wanted me to be.  But when I asked God who God wanted me to be all God said was “kind…kind and…fully you.”

It would be so much easier if someone would just tell me who I am supposed to be and then reward me for being that person.  And the work-place and the church will do that for its employees.  It’s an expensive contract but it takes away the responsibility the way an over-functioning  interior decorator ends up relieving her client of the burden of making choices about taste and beauty in one’s home only to have the home end up looking impressive rather than dowdy…like the real me…dowdy and wonderful and odd and complicated and slightly mismatched.

The plate this cheesecake is on is of a favorite blue glaze from my studios.  There are probably more impressive plates – Rose Medallion for example.  And the Crab Cheesecake’s crackers are, well… Keebler.  But the thing was made with great love for my friends on a cold winter’s night with box wine and some candles and great music and poetry readings and meaningful conversation and a salad (so we don’t die from gout.) It was enough.

I think  the great goal of life is not to be impressive (and besides…it shows) but rather to be enough and to know that you are enough. I wonder if Jesus, when tempted to be impressive, considered taking the deal. If he sis not then he was not human and we might as well re-name the event.  It is tempting.  But then Jesus modeled a different choice.  We will sometimes make choices which are messy and even unimpressive – toppling marriages, upturning careers, standing up to power – bosses, Bishops, boards, bullies, unjust systems, the media – knowing we might get the *%$#@*&% beat out of us.  But in the end, light and salt are worth it.

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