February 2018  
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Rector's Msg.

 

Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be a white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.  Isaiah 1:18


We just received our first meaningful snowfall in quite a while up in the mountains. Just under a foot of
fresh dry snow landed in the mountains and the next day I was up at Sugar Bowl. The snow was beautiful. It
looked like sheets of sugar sparkling under blue skies. With gleeful abandon I skied off of the groomed run to
get some turns in the new snow. After fifty feet of what felt like flying I began to see bushes and hear the
telltale sounds of rocks scraping the bases of my skis. Only then did I stop to consider that the slope I was on
had been dirt and rocks before the storm. The glorious run I thought I was going to enjoy became a tedious and
anxiety filled maze through a minefield of barely covered rocks.


In the book of Isaiah there is an ongoing stream of communication from God to His people in Israel.
These messages cover many different topics, but one theme in particular stands out, that theme is the need to be
made clean by God, to confess and be forgiven. In the passage quoted above the Lord invites the people to
reason with Him. What He is offering is to change the people’s sins from scarlet to white as snow, from
crimson to white like wool. The Lord is offering to take their sin and transform it, to take away the stain from
it. Contextually, this passage comes amid a chapter where the Lord reveals His disgust with their faithless
shows of religion and their unrighteous behavior and treatment of others. Then he offers them this reasonable
path, a path, which calls Israel to come to God and ask for forgiveness and be made clean.


Then the Lord presents path number two, this path is one in which Israel blithely continues on as if
everything is going splendidly, carrying on with their false worship, lack of concern for others, and empty faith.
If Israel chooses this path then God promises that war is coming to them. Which path do you think they chose?
Of course, they chose the second path. They tried to spread a sheet over their sins thinking that this would
make them clean, but the sin just lurked under the surface, not being dealt with, not being healed, not being
forgiven.


Like that recent snow in the mountains, the problems underneath were not really cured, just temporarily
and really barely covered. In the mountains, all the snow did in some of the areas was make skiing more
dangerous, as it fooled people into going places where there was not enough foundation to safely pass over the
rocks. The same was true of Israel. They had the show of righteousness but kept hurting and cheating others
while denying God.


Even though this passage was written more than two and a half millennia ago the promise still stands for
us. We can come to God and he can change the scarlet of our sins to pure white, like fresh fallen snow. Or we
can take the path of Israel and try to cover up our sins on our own. My day on the rocks was further proof to me
that there is only one way to live.
In Christ, ~Seth~

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