Weekly Reflection – Snow …

19 January 2024

“Once I knew there was a love divine,
Then came a time I thought it knew me not.
Who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not?
Only the lamb as white as snow.”
(“White as Snow” – Bono, U2) © Opal Music, Universal Music Publishing Int.

It’s that time of year when we say things like, “I wonder if it will be cold enough for snow?” As I write, it’s actually snowing but not sticking. By the time you read this, it may have snowed a lot… or not at all. It’s hard to predict the weather in the UK, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, in the Bible, the prophet Isaiah has a lot to say about the wickedness of his own people. His very first chapter is a particularly stinging attack on the sins of Judah. (Have a read and I’m sure you will agree!).

There is only one ray of light in the whole chapter, but when it comes it shines out brightly – like white snow. Isaiah writes:
“..though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Imagine a resident of the Canary Islands reading that verse! If it hardly ever rains, it certainly never snows. How would they understand that verse? It’s one of the challenges faced by Bible translators. You not only have to translate, but do it in such a way that the reader can make sense of it.

But after understanding this, the reader needs to respond. After hearing the good news of God’s grace, will they reform?
“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Hundreds of years later, Jesus warned the people, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

We don’t know what the future holds Despite amazing supercomputers, the forecasters can’t accurately predict the weather for more than a few days ahead. But we can head the warnings. If it’s going to snow, wear your big coat and boots. If God’s judgement awaits, whenever that may be, put on the Lord Jesus Christ. (See Romans 13:14).

Have a nice day!

Canon Derek
Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations

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