Saturday, November 24, 2012

Crimson and White

Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Colors....they invoke memories for me. Have you ever looked at a color and had a memory come to the forefront of your mind?

Last week as I was driving to work, the beautiful Hudson Valley foliage was before me. It's that time of year where the mountains, full of green trees begin to change color. In only a week's time you can see the transformation begin to take place. What was green a week ago, this week can be orange, red or yellow, maybe even a touch of purple is seen. I was gazing at the beautiful colors as I was driving and immediately a memory, a small piece of time from my childhood flickered in my thoughts. I was about 10 years old; I remember sitting on my living room floor, in the Bronx, the small apartment I grew up in. I began to smile as I was driving; it was good memory. See in my thoughts, I am on the floor with a box of Crayola Crayons, the 64 box collection that included the great silver and gold crayons; I can see some of you shaking your heads, you remember that too. The thoughts continue to unfold; my mom and I are engaged in a  coloring book; the book was Josie & The Pussycats ( a cartoon from the 1970’s). I sat on the floor and as far as I'm concerned it was hours, just my mom & I coloring. The entire page is filled with all the multiple shades of yellow and orange. 

Well, all this to say to this day, whenever I see the colors orange and yellow and all the different  shades of these two colors, I think of that day when I sat on the floor coloring with my mom. It does not matter if I see these colors on the foliage landscape or if the colors are together in a fruit basket, the results are the same...and yes I always smile.

The Bible speaks of two colors that immediately for the believer should invoke memories as well. Its crimson red and white. The Bible says that our sins are like crimson and the covering is white, white as snow.

Could you imagine a bucket filled with red paint. Now take a handful of snow and try to cover the red paint, try to layer enough snow so that the paint is no longer visible. Better yet, take white paint and try and cover it, mix it in.....well you end up with a shade of red. See the trouble I have is that no matter how much of this white snow or white paint I try to use I can't seem to cover it. What I end up is masking the red in a pretty shade of pink...but red none the less.

In my sinful state, in that part of my life prior to knowing the forgiveness of my sins, it did not matter what kind of "covering" I tried to use; sin always seeped through. I could try and be good; you know make up for all the bad things I've done, but there never seems to be enough good. We could try to change, but somehow the road we're on bends and we find ourselves in the place again. The self "way" has many avenues it travels prior to surrendering to the Lord. We get married and there is a name change. But we remain the same. We travel , we move, we change jobs....but one look in the mirror and we see the same person. So, how can I experience this change?

How does it happen? OK, I'm ready Lord to settle this matter. You promise that my sins though they are as scarlet can be white as snow.

It's a decisive turn. It's me traveling down the road and deciding to go in the opposite direction. It's that gentle whisper that speaks and calls to us. And the questions remains, do we answer the call? Do we turn?

When Jesus was arrested and falsely accused, the Scriptures say that the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and mocked him, shouting "Hail, king of the Jews!" Purple, a color representing royalty which indeed he was, but the soldiers missed it. Pilate dismissed him and as the crowds shouted, "crucify him". We see Jesus end up on a brown wooded cross (John 19) Crucified, red blood dripping from his golden flesh, surly with bruises in all kinds and shades of purple and black. Bruises from being in the hands of sinners; sinners he was willing to die for.

It's the crimson red bucket, you and me. He will cover it up; and this time the right substance is used. The red blood that flowed is more than able to cover every sin you and I have ever committed; every evil thing we have ever said; even every sin that may still await us down the road. How? The Bible says it’s the righteous one suffering for the unrighteous (1 Peter 3:18) It reads that God demonstrated his love by dying for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), yes while we were still beating him, spitting on him and causing him great pain. While his face was on the ground, the cry went forth to his Father in heaven, "My father if possible take this cup from me", but we read that his love for us moved him directly to the cross; "Yet not my will but yours be done". It's the sixth word we here from Christ on the Cross that makes our crimson red sin, white as snow.....It is finished (John 19:30) The tomb is empty...there is no one there (John 20) It’s the begotten of the Father, paying a debt we could not pay.

Yes, colors like scents can invoke memories. Inhale and look deep within.

Do you smell a sweet perfume, a fragrance the Lord has left with when he came to visit and took our crimson red sins, paid and covered it, leaving us to shine and glow, causing us to be white like snow?
I do.

There are a few more colors from that 64 box of Crayola Crayons I like.....Streets of God ( Rev 21:21). The Rider on the White Horse whose rider is called Faithful and True (Rev 19:11) Glory to His Name!

God bless you!~Liz


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