A Communion Meditation In February
I can imagine someone from, say, Arizona, at the Indians baseball training camp, sitting beside an escapee from Cleveland, and chuckling: “I understand at this time of year, you Clevelanders have only one thing on your mind.” “Oh yeah?” the Clevelander would reply, “and what would that be?” –“Snow!”
I wondered if the Bible would offer some solution for this phenomenon we call snow (or some prayer to stop it!). I did a search and was totally surprised to find 24 references for snow. If I hadn’t read of the recent snowstorm in the Middle East, I wouldn’t have thought people in the desert would even know what snow was!
But, of course, there were the snows of Mt. Hermon and Mt. Lebanon, and talk of clothes and hands and hair being white as snow. I’m sure you are familiar with Robert Frost’s famous poem, Fire and Ice:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
But then I found this other thing in the Bible—this thing called mercy. In fact, it seems in Ezekiel 16, the more the people strayed from God, the more determined God became to restore them, to remember his covenant with them. And we say that beautiful psalm of repentance in this Lenten season: “Cleanse me of sin with hyssop, that I may be purified; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (51:9).
The world may end, with fire or ice, but God’s mercy, the Psalmist says, is everlasting (e.g. Ps. 103:8; Ps. 118:1-4).
This should have been crystal clear to those who come to this communion table. Though our sins be as scarlet, we are welcome here. We just have to hunger and thirst for him, and we will find our icy hearts melting and our cold hands reaching out to help warm others. For, on the night before he died, he took bread…