Let the Snow Preach
Paul writes in Romans 1:20 (NLT), "For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." Often, some of the best "sermons" are the ones we don't even have to preach.
I love preaching God's Word. Everyone has what one might call their "element." Mine is certainly behind a pulpit. I'm comfortable behind a pulpit. I count it a privilege and an honor to study God's Word, to share it's truth, and to speak of what it's Author says to my heart. Needless to say, when I am not afforded that opportunity the rest of my week is completely thrown off. I tend to forget what day it is far more easily, and as many would say, "you're too young for that." Perhaps so. For most, I'd venture a guess that they would consider Monday the start of their week. Mine is most certainly Sunday. On Sunday, I get to rise early and join with the saints in praise and worship, prayer and preaching. It is truly a wonderful way to start the week.
So, when we are unable to gather, say because of inclement weather, or imposed closures, I get frustrated. Although I am thankful to the avenue of "virtual church", it cannot replace the real gathering of saints. I am not at all comfortable behind a screen and certainly not by myself. One Saturday, we had received threats of inclement weather, ranging from 5 - 8 inches of snow (thankfully we were shorted). I had been keeping an eye on the weather and planned to make a decision about service the following morning. When I rose and stumbled my way downstairs, I put on my boots, made some coffee, grabbed my keys and headed out the door to check the roads. I didn't make it far. Snow. Lots of snow. And more kept falling. The decision was made: No service.
Now, I love snow. Just in small doses. I often pray for enough snow to keep my wife from having to go to school, but not too much that I have to get out and shovel it. My son loves the snow as most children do. We had a good time that Sunday, but not being with my church family still nagged at me. It conjured up reminders of how I felt during the near three months last year that we were completely shutdown. Although I love snow, this one prevented me from doing what I love even more. I had planned to do a virtual message regardless. But as the snow continued to fall, quickly covering the tracks I had already made, I was reminded of the words from one of my college professors: "Some of the best sermons are ones you never have to preach."
Let the snow preach today.
That's what I felt in my heart. Typically, when we think of creation reflecting the glory of God, snow might not be at the forefront of our minds. But, I think it should be. In an article from DesiringGod, written by Christopher Asmus he says, "Snow has a sender (Job 37:6), frost has a Scatter-er (Psalm 147:16), and God uses both to showcase his supremacy (Job 38:22). God's glory is on display as much in the cold winter snow as it is in the warm summer sun (Psalm 74:17). Every flake is sent by God to show his splendor in snow, his beauty in the blizzard. God has assigned to snow life-giving purpose for God-centered praise (Isaiah 55:10). When it snows, remember your God."
That day was a reminder, as Elvina Hall wrote in her classic hymn, that "Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow" (Hall, Elvina. "Jesus Paid It All." 1865.) David writes, "Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7; NLT). Indeed, on that Sunday, the snow was preaching for me. It was preaching a message far grander and more powerful than I could ever muster. On that day, creation testified that "I - yes, I alone - will blot our your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again" (Isaiah 43:25; NLT).
What a glorious reminder that because of Christ's work on the cross my sins are forgiven! What a glorious reminder that when He forgave me (and still forgives me), He washes me "white as snow!" What a glorious reminder that He "blots out" my sin! The Hebrew word for "blot out" means "to abolish, destroy, erase, or utterly wipe away." And God's willingness to abolish my sin rests solely in His mercy and unfailing love that sent His Son, Jesus, to a cross for my sake. The only substance that can rightly abolish our sin is the blood of Jesus Christ. Those who have had their transgressions blotted out are forgiven and will spend eternity in heaven with Him. The snow preached. Even we preachers need to be preached to. I'm thankful that the ground was covered in a glorious white and my sin with it.
"Part of snow's ultimate purpose is to visibly remind you that your sin has been covered by winter-white grace."
When it snows, remember your God!