Snow White

Snowflake Circle

Friends and Family of Bethlehem Lutheran,

As a Minnesotan, snow has been to me alternately:

  • Toy
  • Slide
  • Sculpting Medium
  • Exercise Equipment
  • Object of Denial
  • Nemesis

One thing it’s never been – not really anyways – is food. Having never seriously considered eating my way through a snowstorm, I discovered something that got my attention:

Snow Ice Cream:
Mix together freshly fallen snow; milk, cream, or condensed milk; sugar; and vanilla.
(Some recipes call for the addition of whole raw eggs, making the snow cream custardy.)

Snow Ice Cream

Image: Dessert from the sky: a freshly made serving of snow cream. (From Chloe Tuttle)

It was a disappointment, though, to receive this recipe with a health warning. Snow Ice Cream, when it’s homemade, includes on it’s ingredient list all of the local air pollutants – ‘things like sulfates, nitrates, formaldehyde or mercury.’ Apparently one of the contributions to our clean air here in the northland is falling snow – with those intricate crystalline  arms catching hold of chemicals as they fall around us. To be clear – all those hazardous chemicals in the snow out your window are “all at levels well below toxic” (even in smoggy places?)

Isaiah 1:16-18 – ‘…Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.’ (NRSV)

From the point of view of Ancient Israel, snow was about as white as anything could possibly get. That makes sense – could you make anything whiter than fresh snow? And if sin is anything that taints the holiness of God’s people, what better image could there be than pure white snow?

And yet, apparently, Israel was mistaken. The definition of purity isn’t as pure as we’d thought.

So it is with us. We’re not as good as we think we are – the power of Sin is to creep into places we least expect it. So people have learned to say – “I’m doing okay. I’m not perfect, but who is?”

God is. God is perfect. God is unfathomably more holy and perfect than our minds can imagine. God is so pure, it is threatening to stand in God’s presence.

But it is what God does with God’s holiness that makes God worthy of worship. Because God gives purity – true purity – to you as a gift through Jesus.

Remember the wonder of being God’s child as you play in, endure, or devour our fresh snow!

Pr. Brendan



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