Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Lent 3
March 8, 2015
Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 17:8, NRSV)
The snow invites me to try and fool myself. I look out beyond our porch and see a glistening blanket of white covering our yard, and the two that adjoin ours … for this short moment in time erasing those lines that divide our property from the others. It offers a pristine landscape in which everything looks beautiful, almost perfect. Even my grungy arborvitae and the clunky wood pile have an earthy beauty to them. I smile and stand there a long time just looking at the white blanket, wishing the perfection to remain forever….
… but of course it doesn’t. With the sun shining brightly and the temperature in the balmy forty-degree range my blanket of perfection is melting, especially around the edges that adjoin the sidewalk and driveway. And as my white blanket slowly recedes, I can start to see the flotsam and jetsam trapped underneath the snowy mantle – dead leaves from the fall, a tissue that escaped a neighbor’s garbage can on a windy day, some twigs from the maple tree, and a patch of thatch that resisted my weed-n-feed for most of the fall. And I am reminded that the illusion of snowy perfection is just that … an illusion. It is not permanent, but only a temporary offering of grace and peace … a respite, if you will, from the ugly underbelly of the beast that is my lawn.
Yes, I have snow-blindness of a different sort, I suppose. A spiritual snow-blindness. I readily see the beauty in my life and the places where I am proud of what I think and do. But I allow that snowy spiritual landscape to blind me to the underbelly of the sinful beast that lives within me. (All right, maybe “beast” is a little melodramatic. But that cicada carcass that is buried under the snow is an apt metaphor at the very least.) And thus, the season of Lent enters my life as a spiritual corrective. This season of “spring” (for that is what the word Lent means in Old English) melts away the snowy illusion of pride and arrogance, and confronts me with what lies beneath. And therein is my salvation. For having named the sin, it is but a short time (forty days at the very most) until the empty tomb proclaims to us the forgiveness of that sin, with a bright white light that is real; and which puts to shame the illusionary snowy light under which my sin wants to hide.
So in your prayers this week, consider if you dare, the blankets under which you hide from your sin and delude yourself into thinking you do not need redemption. Give thanks for the severe message of the Lenten season, because it directs you to a place that has the potency and the power to redeem you. Go ahead … let the snow melt a little bit … it looks ugly at first, but “springs” of a variety of sorts, will bring life to you and your spirit.
Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and honest hearts, so that, truly repenting of our sins, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
~~Prayer for the Season of Lent, Evangelical Lutheran Worship