Devotional article for The Greybull Standard

and The Republican Rustler

Some thoughts on snow and spring

There is something very liberating about the spring air. Here in Wyoming, strangely enough, it seems to me that there is a sense spring in the air whenever a layer of snow yields to the sun and the heat, even if it is still midwinter, and there is no doubt that more snow is to come. Certainly there is something very liberating about the snow finally coming off the streets – for a while. We who ride bicycles appreciate that - although one can, in fact, ride a bicycle in the snow, or on the snow, thank you all for asking ...

A less pleasant perspective on spring, though, is that it is not all that pretty, not at first. There is something sad about late snow, a look as if it were dying – as it actually is, I guess, so to speak. And it tends to be dirty. Even worse, as the snow melts away all those thing become visible which were hidden underneath it, which should have been removed before the snow came, and were not. For a while it has been covered by a merciful layer of white, and everything has looked so pretty; but underneath the filth was still filth. And now it is coming back out to stand as embarrassing memorials to our sloppiness and sloth.

Sometimes things will happen in our lives that are somewhat similar to what happens when the snow melts away. Something brings out the worst in us, all that which we thought we had long since left behind. Suddenly our strength is gone, and our serenity, and our civility.

Suddenly it shows: at heart am I still the same, no matter how well I might have managed, for a long time, to cover my old self over and hide it away behind a veneer of strength and serenity and civility, and perhaps done it so well as to have forgotten all about my old self myself.

It really should come as no surprise, though, that it happens. The Apostle Paul writes about it: I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh – in my own human nature, that is. And in a way, for a Christian to be reminded of this is not the worst thing that can happen. As the Apostle also writes it: Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.

The yielding snow reminds me how the mercy of God is not a layer to cover up what is real, but rather a real new reality that really makes us righteous and right with God, in spite of what we are in ourselves. The Son of God has lived for us the life we owe it to God to live. He has borne for us the death due for us to die because of our failure to live that life ourselves. And this He has done as the Head of Mankind, so that all that He did is done for us, and the goodness and righteousness He has earned before God is ours. All that God demands of us He has done Himself, and He gives it to us, and so we have it, for real.

And this means that we need not cover ourselves up before Him. We can be honest to God, and to ourselves, about who we are, and what is in us. And even when it actually shows, so that we see who and what we are - it changes nothing. All the while, while we live and remain the sinners we are, what we really are and remain is what He makes us to be - in Christ, and for real, out of real mercy.

Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem