[first a little context: 2” of fresh snow has fallen this morning in Louisville KY, adding to 8” that fell two days ago. Snowfall can be a powerful trigger for anxiety for me as I usually have to drive through it to get to work. I still feel traumatized from a job I had 7-8 years ago that didn’t allow for “snow days” or any days off whatsoever (had to even work Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.). I became terrified of inclement weather as well as anything that might make me sick, and developed phobias I carry with me to this day.
In light of this, I need to do hard work re-interpreting what I experience with what I believe to be true about God and God’s world. This is the only way I know to move toward trusting God in the midst of deep anxiety. Today’s re-interpretation comes through an attempt at poetry and some texts to set my mind on.]
Have you ever listened to snow falling?
Peace falls gently to the ground
out of God’s sky.
Directly from the heavens where he reigns,
Beauty blankets the earth,
Ice crystals piled high,
each one utterly unique creations
lighting up a cold winter’s night.
Have you noticed how snow has a light of its own?
It’s message available for all who hear, with ears to hear:
God is pure light
no darkness in Him
none at all.
no malevolent motives or tricks up his sleeve;
no secret, manipulative malice.
If pure desire to bless could take visible form,
and fall to the ground,
might it not look like this?
Jesus showed us what God is like;
God is gentle and lowly
humble and childlike.
Willing to be set aside and ignored,
willing to be shoveled roughly to the side of the road
by those he loves.
No other form of precipitation
can give light to the world;
a dangerous lustrous beauty.
Beauty that’s wild and free
provides an odd sort of safety
for those willing to accept it on its own terms.
Some texts to consider (all NIV; emphasis mine):
38 They will be my people, and I will be their God.39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
1 John 1:5-7
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
[thinking also here about how Isaiah talks of God making our sins as “white as snow” though they were scarlet with blood (Isa. 1:18)]
Matthew 17:1-2 NIV
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. (cf. Lk 9:29)
2 Cor 4:5-6
5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
12 . . . and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
1 Thess. 5:5
You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
1 Tim. 6:15-16
God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.