Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Snow: Whaddya do with it?

This was yesterday's first reading at Mass:  
"Thus says the Lord:  Just as from the heavens the rain and the snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful ... so shall my word be that goes from my mouth;"
How appropriate to hear these words, especially here in New Jersey where we just experienced a snowstorm just as we thought winter was coming to an end.

So God's word comes to us like snow.  But let's remember just how we deal with snow in our "busy lives".  What do we do with it?  We shovel it out of our driveway, we plow it off of our streets, we want it out of our way. 

We want snow on our terms: Any time in the three days leading up to Christmas is fine, and then after that on the trees and grass and certainly the ski slopes, but no place where I'd have to deal with it.  In short: close enough to observe, but not close enough to get involved with it.

It wasn't like that when we were kids.  When we were kids, snow was our friend.  We wished and hoped and prayed for it.  Waking up on
the morning of a school day and looking out the window to see a blanket of white stuff brought a joy rivaled only by Christmas morning.  We played in it.  We jumped in it.  We made snowballs and snowforts.  We took our Star Wars action figures outside (you know, the ones that are now worth like 3 billion dollars if you kept them in the original packaging - like that was gonna happen) and replayed the battle on Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back.  What, just me?

Yes, God's word is a lot like snow.  We can neither create it ourselves nor control where it goes.  We can fake it, come up with something that looks awfully like the real thing (ski resorts have huge snow making machines), but in the end those just satisfy a craving and not the appetite.  Snow lands on everything equally: trees, cars, roofs, sidewalks and streets, slums and estates, manmade and Godmade.

When grownups see snow, we think about its consequences: inconvenience, delays, treacherous roads and sprained ankles.  Sure, we like looking at it, when there's a pane of glass separating us from it.  When children see snow, they see only it; nothing else matters.  We want to surround ourselves with it, spend time in it, play in it, put it in our friends' faces, never wanting it to end.  Grownups see the snow and lament how it will affect them; children see the snow and plot how they can affect it.

This was a great reading for Lent, especially when people can hear about God's word being like snow, having trudged through the snow to get to Mass and then trudging through it to get home.

God's Word: do we shovel it out of our way or drive right through it?

No comments: