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Salt for Ernie
Photo: Robert Badgley
The bus from Aurora into downtown Seattle was crowded, people standing in the aisles. At every stop the driver told would-be passengers that if they wanted a seat there was another bus just a block behind him with all kinds of room. Some people waited. Some climbed on and stood.

All kinds of people. A pretty redhead in her twenties. A couple of gnarled old men in wheel chairs. Young men who hung their bicycles on the rack on the front of the bus. Older women who climbed in one slow step at a time. All headed downtown. Some pursuing bright dreams, some pursuing survival.

There was a bit of an altercation at one point. An able-bodied man sitting in the handicapped seating area, scolded one of the wheelchair passengers because his leg had bumped him. “Don’t do that again! You hear? I said, don’t let it happen again! ”Another passenger, a woman who had not been not too steady on her feet when she boarded the bus a stop or two earlier, quickly came to the defense of the wheelchair guy. “Leave him alone. Ernie is a good man. You have no business talking to him like that.” The complainer muttered a few more remarks but was clearly deflated by the the woman's fierce defense.

Salty Christians

And I smiled. I was reading a book that discussed Jesus’ words to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth.” I couldn’t help but think, now there is some valuable salt. I don’t know if that woman was a disciple of Jesus, but I do know her words in defense of Ernie added a new flavor not only to Ernie’s day, but to a whole bus load of people.

The next time you’re downtown, ask yourself, How can I be salt? How can I improve the flavor of my world? Cities are better when seasoned with salty Christians.

"You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13).

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By John Thomas McLarty. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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