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Monday, November 28, 2011

Wearing White

I lifted a forkful of pasta liberally coated with aromatic marinara sauce, bits of Italian sausage, and a slice of mushroom. Suddenly I felt the telltale miniscule drop in weight that meant a smidgen of food had fallen from my fork somewhere in the region below my chin as I conveyed it from my plate to my mouth. I looked down at the front of my shirt with trepidation.  As I feared, a red spot had bloomed on the expanse of white. Why does this always happen? It seems like any white shirt I wear is a magnet for whatever I happen to be eating, or whatever sticky, crumbly, or oily surface I go near. 

I cannot keep a white shirt clean. This is a real annoyance to me as I love to wear white.  Wearing white reminds me of the purity of a mantle of new-fallen snow under the light of a full moon. The pristine surface bears no footprints or animal tracks that mar its tender breast.  There is not a sound in the universe, and God is nearer than the next frosty breath. Okay, so wearing a white shirt doesn’t really remind me of all this. I was carried away by the melodramatic lyricism of my own prose. See previous blog post on pride.

White does make me think of light.  White light is comprised of every color under the sun.  If you shine white light at a prism, all the colors of the rainbow shoot out.  White light is complete, whole. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

As I contemplated the spot of spaghetti sauce on my chest, a spiritual analogy occurred to me. After wearing a white shirt several times, there are often shadows of stains that did not completely come out in the wash.  And even the bleach that is supposed to remove the spots has a tendency to yellow the shirt.  The shirt gradually goes from being the first thing I pull out of the closet to the last.  It becomes a filthy rag that I do not want to wear, just like our own righteousness.

Bleach only leaches the color out, it doesn’t clean. If you have accidentally dripped bleach on a colored garment, or leaned against the tub while using cleanser, only to discover a pale band across your shirt later, you know this.  But Jesus cleans like the stain never was. There are no phantom spots left. 

We can wear white whenever we want—all we have to do is repent and confess our sins, and God will forgive our sins and cleanse us from our unrighteousness. Not like a white shirt that we have to buy new, and we know that in time will have to be replaced. With Jesus, our repentance renews His life within us. It doesn’t just leach out the color, like bleach, like the sacrifices in the Old Testament that had to be repeated over and over again, like washing a white shirt and never being able to really get the spots out completely.

So in this world I will continue dripping spaghetti sauce and other things on my white shirts and will continue having to buy new ones. Every time I do, though, I hope that it reminds me that this world is not our home and that blinding, fresh white is our legacy in Christ. Because He is the propitiation for our sins, once and for all, and we are clothed in His righteousness.

Scripture references: Isaiah 64:6, I John 1:5, 9; I John 2:1-2 


Monday, April 18, 2011

It's a Pride Thing

It’s been a long, long time since I wrote anything on my blog. But since BlogSpot blogs and Google e-mail addresses are like death and taxes (“in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except…”) they never go away.

My start didn’t fizzle due to a lack of inspiration. The past year-and-a-half has been interesting and challenging, and indeed, I have half a page of blog entry ideas. Health issues have taken center stage in a way, true enough, but that actually has provided some of my inspiration. Homeschooling is the mix of excitement and frustration, energy and enervation that it has been for us for the last two decades. Family, friends, church, neighbors… no excuse not to write there.

One reason I chose not to write on my blog was something I struggle with so very often. It’s the good, better, best argument. Is this the best thing that I can spend my time on right now? Will this help me or someone else grow spiritually? Will it build relationships or something else of lasting value? Do I care whether it’s the best thing? Or would I rather do something better, like exercise? Plan meals for the next week? Read an engrossing book? Or something good like clean out my inbox? Organize my recipes? Do the laundry? Or do I want to play a mindless computer game like Bejeweled Blitz (a current addiction) and simply waste my time?

But as much as I would like to say that the business of life kept me from writing, I cannot. No… I have a confession. I did not want to spend my precious time that I could be using to play Bejeweled Blitz (heavy sarcasm, please understand) writing something that it is likely that no one would read.

So… It’s a pride thing. I did not want to drop my pearls of wisdom someplace where no one would read them. I preferred to make my humorous, cogent, encouraging, challenging, satirical, uplifting, educational, all or none of the above remarks on Facebook or a forum where I knew that they would be seen and perhaps commented upon.

It seems that every time I begin to pride myself on being humble, God shows me how very far I have to go in order to be truly humble. I anticipate a fight with this until my dying day. But it is a good fight, a worthy fight. One of the best fights. And I will continue to fight.

And one of the ways I will continue to fight is, God helping me, writing in my blog. Telling, in whatever words available to me what God has done. Delighting in Him, and hopefully portraying my delight to others. For when we delight in God, He is the best glorified.

It is what it is. And I trust that whoever needs to read it will.


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