h1

February 2013

January 28, 2013

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

Writing this from the warmth of Barnes Close I look out over a snow covered Worcestershire. Yes it has brought access and travelling difficulties as well as curtailing some activities but you have to admit that a snow covered landscape is beautiful, especially when the sun shines on it. Further more it is good for us as it kills off soil bugs thereby increasing the fertility of the ground. It also encourages the germination of bulbs and seeds making the world even more beautiful when snowdrops and crocus break through the ground and into bloom. Most gardeners love snow.

Snow also has biblical and theological connections. We tend to think of the Holy Land being a warm place and therefore Christmas Carols such as See Amid The Winter Snow and In the Bleak Midwinter as being out of place. Snow maybe rare in the Middle East but I have it on good authority that it snowed in the hills above Jerusalem in December 1944. The Israelites must have been familiar with snow because the word occurs twenty-one times in the Old Testament and twice in the New Testament. There are references to leprous skin being as white as snow, to snowy days, to snow on the mountains of Lebanon, to snow-cooled drinks, to melting and to snow being sent by God.

However the two I want to focus on are Daniel 7:9 quoted in Matthew 28:3 when clothing is described as being as white as snow and Psalm 1: 18 and Psalm 51:7 which refer to though our sins are as scarlet they will be washed whiter than snow. Anyone who has tried to wash red wine or blood out of a white shirt knows that it is not easy. The Israelites would have known the same. They would also have known, like us, that continued washing eventually dulls a white shirt. In these two references white is seen as a symbol of purity. Hence Angels are always shown dressed in white and traditionally only a virgin should wear white on her wedding day.

The Daniel reference is to the Son Of Man, known to us as The Messiah or Jesus Christ. He alone has the right to wear white because he is sinless, pure and spotless. The Israelites of old would have realised it was the Messiah who was being talked about coming to save His people, sadly they did recognise Him when He came. If we look at the book of Revelation we discover that all the redeemed, ie all who populate heaven wear white robes. The significance of this is that by the death and resurrection of Jesus we are saved from the eternal consequences of our sins and made fit for heaven. The early readers of Revelation would have realised the significance of the white robes instantly.

The Psalmist and Isaiah are referring not to outward appearance but to inward appearance and they make it clear that this cleansing of our sins is not something that we can do for ourselves but something God does for us. He only does this if we allow Him to. We have to stop our love of sinning and ask God to transform us in to what He would have us be. It is God’s work but we have to permit it, we have to turn to Him.

Enjoy the snow and reflect on its Biblical significance

Ian

 

WHERE IS GOD IN ……?

A new three week series looking at where God is in some of the issues of the day. Led by Ian Ring and Ruth Wood we will be looking at one or more stories from the newspapers of the day we meet. Do come along and join us on:

Tuesdays 26th February, 5th March and 12th March from 10.30am to 11.30am

Running alongside Coffee Morning gives us the chance to pick up a drink before we go into Room 1 for our discussion and, maybe, stop for a drink afterwards.

 

Advertisements