Snow glorious snow! I am normally a big fan of this white fluffy powder that is currently coating Otley. In the right conditions, and in the right context snow can be the source of extraordinary enjoyment. Earlier this month I was in Hinterglemm, Austria for a week of skiing. The conditions were perfect; lots of snow and bright sunshine allowed for hours of fun for me and my family. This holiday was also the first time that Hannah and I had skied together. It was lovely for the two of us to do something together which we both enjoy, although the jury is still out on which one of us is faster!
However, snow in the wrong place, or too much of it at the wrong time isn’t fun – it’s disastrous. Personally, I like my snow on the Alps, not in Otley. In Otley, snow becomes the reason that people are left house-bound, unable to go to work and stuck in endless traffic jams.
As we are currently in the season of Lent I think this is a helpful metaphor for understanding sin. There are lots of things which are good which can become sinful when they are in the wrong place, or the wrong quantity or at the wrong time, such as sex, money, power, plastic, choice and patriotism, to name just a few. All these things can be a wonderful source of life and enjoyment, good things which God wants us to have. But in the wrong quantity, or at the wrong time and in the wrong place, these good gifts become bad for the soul. Wisdom is knowing the difference.
I pray that this Lent you would grow in wisdom. Wisdom which would enable you to take the good things which God gives us as a gift in the right quantity, at the right time, in the right place.
This has been described before as “the unforced rhythms of Grace”. Lenten disciplines shouldn’t feel like you are trudging through snow. Lenten disciplines set us free to enjoy God’s good gifts; it feels a lot like skiing down a beautiful mountainside.