Aware of their conversation, Jesus asked them, “Why are you debating about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Do you have such hard hearts? ‘Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?’ And do you not remember? ~ Mark 8:17-18
At the moment, I’m obsessed with salt shakers. Well, salt and pepper shakers.
As I research my work in progress about a different way of downsizing, I explore what folks use to remember people, places, good times and bad. Like many a tourist, I collected mugs from my travels. But when it comes to a certain generation, salt and pepper shakers seemed to be in favor. There are more salt and pepper shakers out on the Antique Trail than, well, you can shake a shaker at. I met a man who bought twenty pairs of salt and pepper shakers to add to his lifelong collection. He didn’t make a dent in the store’s collection. Even more amazing, these “kitschy” items are really popular with the young twenty and thirty somethings who love midcentury style. Late 50s, 60s, early 70s. That is what they want. Why? Maybe it’s because the midcentury was like our current time. The era was more than a bit unsettled, people didn’t agree, protests were constant, and the world was an uncertain place.
What’s popular in midcentury salt and pepper shakers? Pairs of Hawaiian pineapples, Florida pink flamingos, Maine lighthouses, simple shakers with locations of all kinds. If there’s a location, there’s a salt and pepper pair to go with it. Unless there isn’t.
You don’t find many salts OR peppers out there alone, unaccompanied. Most folks throw both away when one is broken. But some end up in thrift stores and antique shops. Often these sell for more than the pairs because people who buy them desperately want to have a complete set again. They want to remember the set on their grandma’s farm table or that stood on a shelf as a memory of a long ago and far away honeymoon. There’s much rejoicing when the replacement shaker is found and the memories are restored. A re-membering, a bringing together, if you will.
In the Old Testament, the psalmist constantly asks God to remember him because there is a distance between humanity and God. The New Testament is full of verses about Jesus constantly reminding the disciples to remember what he taught them, that he was there to restore the relationship between God and His people. Sometimes, Jesus gets a little testy about it. “And do you not remember?” No wonder He decided to pair the disciples when he sent them out to, well, shake things up a bit.
Jesus sent the disciples out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. (Mark 6:7) They weren’t to take anything but each other. Have you wondered why he sent them together? Maybe, observing the rusty memory of the disciples, Jesus knew if one person forgot something (yep, they had done that plenty of times in His presence) the other could help him remember the lessons Jesus taught. Believe me, having co-led many a Bible study I know that’s true. But Jesus also knew his disciples well enough one person had certain strengths while the other had complimentary ones. Just like salt and pepper. A combined seasoning to help people remember the power of God, be re-membered to God and each other as the body of Christ.
So what about you? Do you have a memory of a favorite pair of salt and pepper shakers? Have you ever been in ministry with someone who is salt to your pepper? Have you seen the remembering that goes on when people work together to heal the body of Christ?