All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

You are the essential Ingredient

Matthew 5: 13
Bonnie A. Perry
February 9, 2014

Na CL—Sodium Chloride.

Salt: historically a substance so valuable that it served as a currency, influenced the establishment of trade routes, and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires and inspired revolutions—thus says historian Mark Kurlansky in his book Salt: A World History.

Salt. Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth."

Michael Ruhlman, a writer and Culinary Institute of America trained chef says, "Salt is a fundamental ingredient in understanding the history of civilization precisely because it enabled us to preserve food,
thousands of years before refrigeration and transportation made food so accessible. It allowed food to travel long distances... Salt was once more valuable than precious metals; men were paid with it. Salt: the only rock we eat." (Ruhleman's Twenty p 18.)

Ruhlman, in his really cool, technical yet accessible cookbook, Ruhleman's Twenty, offers 20 key techniques placed in his perceived order of importance to cooking. The second entry in the book, right after the piece entitled "Think," is the chapter called, "Salt: Your most important tool." For him, learning to salt food is the most important thing a cook can do. (P 18) "Working properly with salt is what makes a cook," says Ruhleman.

"You are the salt of the earth," says Jesus.

The heart healthy gang, over at the American Heart Association, might have wanted him to use a different image, but processed food, and resulting high blood pressure was much less of an issue in those days...

And as all the trendy Sea Salt websites will now tell you, there is a substantive difference between unrefined sea salt in its very many shapes, textures and colors and processed Iodine infused table salt.

But let's go back to what Jesus might have been thinking. Because even though he was the son of God he did not have access to, nor did he read the New England Journal of Medicine.

"You are the salt of the earth."

He says this in is his inaugural address. He has just finished calling his disciples. He has healed some people, and done a bit of road-side preaching. Now, after climbing the mountain, he sits down and he is
laying out his blueprint for our world to come.

He says,
Happy are, blessed are the people who are hopeless
because the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Blessed are people who grieve,
because they will be made glad.
Blessed are people who are humble
because they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are people who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
because they will be fed until they are full.
Blessed are people who show mercy,
because they will receive mercy.
Blessed are people who have pure hearts
because they will see God.
Blessed are people who make Peace
because they will be called God's children.

He lays out his view of how the world can now be and then he says, to everyone on that hill and to us, here and now.

Blessed are you. You are the salt of the earth. The essence, the rock, the mineral that matters more than most anything in this world of ours, you are the salt of the earth.

You are the essential ingredient to embody this hope.

You. You. You.

You are called, you matter, you are made in God's image and likeness. You, beautiful you. Your essence is ultimately what is needed to change this world. To no longer accept this world as it is. You, you you are needed.

Here is the point, hear the point:
God created you, you, you, look in the mirror you are needed to add flavor and hope to this soup of our world, this stew of creation.

Do you have any idea how essential and amazing you are? God does. Jesus calls us now, as we are, to be the key element and primary ingredient to bring hope to the world.

You are the Salt of the earth.

But if you, if we fail to recognize our essentialness, our primacy to God's hope for our world—then what?

Theologian Jurgen Moltman says that the death of the church and I would say of the world is when we succumb to cynicism. Our death, the death of our spirit, happens when we give into cynicism and just accept whatever is—regardless of the consequences.

We will have lost our saltiness, our amazingness when we say in word and deed, this is just the way things are so we might as well just get used to it.

The Beatitudes, call us to envision something more, to see something more, to long for something more, to work for something more.

This work and vision need not be anything more extraordinary and outrageous than realizing again this morning for the first time: That we are Salt of the Earth, we are the essential ingredient. Discovering, honing and using our unique gifts will enable us to be that mineral in the soup, the seasoning in the sauce that makes it sublime and transporting.

We are the Salt of the earth, the essential ingredient to move our families, our communities, our world to places of healing and hope.

You—you are the salt of the earth. The essential ingredient God needs to change it all.


Course Salt—less moisture sensitive, resists caking easily stored, best ground
Finishing salt—moist crystals or delicate flakes—strong crunch and burst of clean, mild, flavor
Fleur de Sel—Caviar of salts—young crystals form of the surface of salt evaporation ponds—weather must be just right to form—only once a year—in the summer
Himalayian pink,--"white gold" together with pure spring water this salt provides all the natural elements exactly identical to the elements in our bodies
Hawaiian sea salt –red clay gives the salt a more mellow earthy taste than regular Black Hawaiien sea salt—activated charcoal—salient flavor enhancing characteristics also helpful in detox diets—looks cool on the table too...
Grey salt—moist unrefined salt—Brittany region—velvet grain perfect for sprinkling over popcorn


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Annual Meeting Jan. 28, 2018: Rector's Address

Annual Meeting Jan. 28, 2018: Rector's Address

Here is a link to download Bonnie's address.

Weekly Message for February 18

Weekly Message for February 18

Dear Friends,    


How much longer will the killing continue? 
Here are some groups and activities you might consider supporting with your time and your money: 
  • The IL Council Against Handgun Violence 
  • Moms Demand Action 
  • Gabby Giffords' PAC 

  • And here's a list of congressional representatives who have received the most amount of money from the National Rifle Association. Apparently they are all praying for the people in Florida directly affected by our country’s latest mass shooting. I invite you to pray for their souls and to drop them a note wondering if God is answering their prayers. Will it make a difference? I don’t know. But, being held hostage by a diabolical association that has convinced our elected officials that it is the God-given, constitutionally-sanctioned right of every American to wander around with a semi-automatic rifle is absurd. Seems like all of us ought to start loudly pointing out this insanity.
    I’ll be at the Moms Demand Action Lakeview gathering on the 24th of February. Let me know if you’d like to come with me. Please let me know what other courses of action you plan to take to end gun violence in our country.
    This evening, All Saints’ will be hosting a gathering for the friends, family, and neighbors of our long-term neighbor John Vanzo at 7:00. Tomorrow morning at 10:30 there will be a visitation in the sanctuary and a memorial service at 11:00 am. All are welcome. 
    I’m super excited that we will finally kick off the All Saints’ Youth Group with an overnight this Saturday. Please RSVP to Hilary Waldron if your 7-12 grade child is planning on attending. 
    Following the 11:00 Worship service we will have a Newcomer’s Brunch at O’Shaughnessy’s at 12:15. Please join us!
    This Sunday, Emily will be preaching, I’ll be celebrating, and our choir will be singing some wonderfully moving Lenten music. It seems like the right time to be praying and repenting. So please come and join me.
    All my best,


    Memorial Service for John Vanzo

    Memorial Service for John Vanzo

    AUGUST 13 2013 11The memorial service for our friend and neighbor John Vanzo will be held at All Saints' this Saturday the 17th, at 11:00 am. There will be a visitation in the sanctuary prior to the service, beginning at 10:30am. All are welcome. 

    On Friday evening, the 16th, we will host a time of conversation and story telling for John's friends and family. All are invited from 7 to 9pm to share a drink, and hear and tell a favorite story of the very many sides of John.

    May John's soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


    Lenten Evening Prayer

    Lenten Evening Prayer

    On Thursdays, February 15-March 22, brief services of Evening Prayer will be offered at 7:00pm, with scripture, poetry, and song. Come find rest for your souls.

    Inquirers’ Class

    Inquirers’ Class

    On Thursdays, February 15—March 22, the Inquirers’ Class will take place in the Reading Room next to the sanctuary. Designed especially but not exclusively for those new to All Saints’ and/or the Episcopal Church, this 6-week series is an exploration of adult spirituality through history, prayer, scriptures, theology, church polity, and more. If desired, it may also serve as preparation for the rite of confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church in May or June.

    The book we’ll refer to occasionally in the class is called Jesus was an Episcopalian (and you can be one, too!): A Newcomer’s Guide to the Episcopal Church by Chris Yaw. If you’re interested in joining the class, consider getting a copy to look over.

    Contact Bonnie or Emily for more info.

    Bags for RCS

    Bags for RCS

    We're running low on paper and reusable bags for our Tuesday night pantry. Please bring us your extras! 
    We will be taking donations on Tuesday evenings, M-F 9am-4pm, and on Sundays during church services. Look for the bins by the doors. Thanks for your help!

    Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

    Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

    Tuesdays 6:15-8:00pm 

    RCS is looking for help serving and cleaning up after dinner on Tuesdays from 6:15-8:00pm.

    If you're able to volunteer, contact Emily or Operations Manager Parker Callahan, or call 773-769-0282.

    Donate to The 1883 Project

    Donate to The 1883 Project

    Please consider supporting the restoration project of our historic building. To make a donation, click here

    1883 Construction web 

    Fixing This Old Church

    Fixing This Old Church

    Here is a collection of photos of the progress of our 1883 Project. Here is a collection of bell tower photos. Check back often for updates.

    Sunday Service Times

    8:00 am Inclusive Language Eucharist
    9:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir
    10:00 am Children's Church School
    10:00 am Coffee Hour
    11:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir


    Contact Us

    4550 N. Hermitage in Chicago, IL 60640 (Directions)

    Phone (773) 561-0111


    Information about pastoral care.



    Bonnie on Huffington Post

    Occasionally Bonnie's sermons are published on the Huffington Post. Here are some links.

    Pain. Change. Hope.

    November 15, 2015

    What Does St. Francis of Assisi Have to Say to Us Today?

    October 4, 2015

    Wake Up Calls

    September 6, 2015

    Christmas Reminds Us That We, Like God, Are Human, Too

    December 24, 2014

    The Deep Sleep of Racial Oblivion: One Pastor's Sin of Omission

    November 30, 2014

    Pulpit Swap

    The Pulpit Swap between St Thomas and All Saints is part of our ongoing effort to bring our parishes closer together as we engage in a conversation about systemic racism and how we can work together to forge new possibilities and outcomes.

    Going Home—Changed

    Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Bonnie Perry of All Saints Episcopal Church on October 16, 2016.  

    When Prayers Go Unanswered

    Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Dr Fulton L Porter celebrating at All Saints Episcopal Church on Oct16 2016.