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Yesterday’s snowfall recalled a striking image from the prophet Isaiah: Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…if you are wiling to obey… (1:18-19)

This 8th-century BCE prophet likened sin to the color scarlet, its dye not easily washed from costly robes seen in the Temple precincts. His listeners would have understood, but their obdurate hearts blocked compliance. Too onerous was the Law of Moses: its discipline irked their comforts, stifled their imaginations, and kept them in bondage, even the duress of Assyrian swords.

Similarly today, the invitation for cleansing persists for those willing to obey. Sin is still around but with different names: shadow in Jungian depth psychology, character defects or shortcomings in the 12 Steps of AA, as well as lapses, blind spots, blunders, mess-ups in popular parlance. Inherent within such darkness is the scrim of denial, rationalization, and idealization: They becloud honesty and muddle hearts. Living becomes a slippery slope with multiple injuries, with Band-Aid fixes, with still more visits to emergency rooms.

I know. I was on that slippery slope until I discovered my damaged heart and Isaiah‘s invitation to change, within 12 Step living. The snow is present, in season and out. God’s passion to deify me, and all humankind, makes this possible.

I’m in good company as I move through my end time, within each twenty-four hours. Even now, there is Kingdom joy in whitening.


Like a centipede, each foot laced inside steel-toes-work boots, so drags the remaining hours before the onset of a New Year. Everyone feels it, whether partying in glitzy bars, chanting in monasteries, setting off fireworks, or tossing atop rumpled sheets.

Before us looms the mystery of spent time with its missed opportunities and moral failures. Offsetting this sorry state, however, yawns future change with its disequilibrium or pain, either consciously embraced or forced upon us.

For those with faith, it’s about glimpsing the Unseen Hand shaping our psyches, moving us toward the actualization of our birthright. Admittedly, our sojourn in this life is brief as compared with multiple civilizations before us. History and literature and the arts are replete with stories of how others have done their lives, not without suffering.

Such deep thoughts, of necessity, plunge us within our sacred depths; therein, we learn to listen for direction, to seek counsel when perplexed, and to obey with the heart as we tread into the tomorrows of our lives.

We are not alone and never have been.



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