by Jeanne Heiberg
We are called to be salt of the earth. We are sent to be Christ’s light in the world. This salt craft activity and Salt and Light Prayer helps students understand that praying, fasting, and giving alms are like salt to their faith. Their faith grows strong and they become “salt of the earth” and one of Jesus' bright lights in
Salt, in the way Jesus spoke of it, can season our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to which the Church calls us always—but especially during the season of Lent. The symbol of salt can help flavor and preserve our commitment to Jesus as his faithful disciples. For more biblical background information, click here.
Say to the Children
Salt seasons food and makes it taste good. It preserves food and makes it last longer. When someone is called “the salt of the earth,” it’s a compliment and Jesus said it about us, his disciples. Using salt to preserve food was important before refrigerators and techniques for freezing and canning food were invented.
The word “salary” comes from the word that means salt. Salt once was more precious than gold. Kings would use salt as pay to their soldiers, servants, and friends. Those who ate salt at a king’s table became loyal; they were his friends.
To people in Jesus’ time, making food last and keeping it from spoiling was a reminder of God’s lasting covenant with them. God keeps promises. If we have the salt of faith in us and if we keep the promises of our Baptism, our love of God and others will last our whole lives. Our relationships with others will be respectful and friendly. In many cultures, salt is a sign of friendship. Jesus tells us to keep the commitments of our faith the way salt keeps food from spoiling.
Salt is healing and purifying. Certain salts heal pain and skin problems. If we have the salt of faith in us, we turn to God for his healing grace.
In biblical times, salt not only went into food to flavor it or to preserve it. Salt also went into outdoor ovens made of clay. A slab of salt rested on the floor of each earth oven to make the fire burn well. Salt also went into the fuel that fired up the ovens. Salt helped the fire burn brighter, giving light and warmth. (If appropriate, share more detail from the boxed material titled “A ‘Fresh’ Insight.”)
Several times Jesus linked salt, fire, and light together. Once, right after he told his followers they were the salt of the earth, he told them they were the light of the world.
As faithful followers of Jesus, you pray, fast, and give alms—especially during Lent.
Salt Craft Activity
- empty bottles or jars (one for each student)
- salt—Epsom salt, sea salt, regular table salt (enough for each student’s bottle/jar)
- pieces of cloth (enough to make a top covering for unsightly bottle/jars)
- yarn, heavy cord, garland, ribbon, or long pipe cleaners (enough to secure each piece of cloth to the top of each bottle/jar; rubber bands can also be used for this purpose)
- self-adhesive labels or copy paper to make labels
- markers, colored pencils, crayons
- Optional: craft beads; artificial flowers; ingredients for giving bathing salts a fragrance (see #4 in PROCEDURE)
- Clean and thoroughly dry bottle/jar and remove label if possible.
- Turn bottle/jar upside down on a piece of cloth and trace a circle about ¾” to 1” beyond the lip. Cut out circle. This will serve as the top covering.
- Fill jars with the salt you have chosen. Option: If you want to make fragrant bathing salt, mix 2 cups Epsom salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and several drops of an essential oil such as lavender, rose, eucalyptus, or thyme.
- Decorate the bottle/jar with stickers and/or with labels. Write words on an adhesive label (or a small piece of copy paper to serve as a label). Encourage students to use words from Scripture such as “You are the salt of the earth.” Optional: Prepare computer generated labels.
- Place top covering on bottle/jar and fold down around the lip. Secure covering with rubber bands and/or by tying yarn, heavy cord, garland, ribbon, or pipe cleaners around the lip. (If you are using craft beads or artificial flowers, affix these to yarn, heavy cord, garland, ribbon, or pipe cleaners before tying.)
Salt and Light Prayer
For a Salt and Light Prayer service to use with your students, click here.
Jeanne Heiberg is the author of Advent Arts & Christmas Crafts (Paulist Press) and Advent calendars (Creative Communications). She has taught art, writing, creative catechetics, and meditation, and has directed parish catechetical programs. Jeanne writes, paints, and gives writing workshops in upstate New York.
Source: CATECHIST Magazine, February 2010
Copyright 2013, Peter Li, Inc. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in any form without permission, except for use with your classes or families.