Listen: Audrey Assad (feat. Chris Tomlin): "Winter Snow"
As of today, New York City's current winter has seen 14 snowstorms, which has resulted in an accumulation of close 57 inches, the seventh highest since records have been kept.
For some, the snow is a nuisance, with all the shoveling, slipping, bitter winds, traffic jams, and even more scarce parking spots. We might add that New York City has its own winter Olympics which include hurdling your car into curbside snow embankments, (praying you have enough traction to remove yourself later), dodging potholes, and leaping across slush puddles. In this week or winter recess, some of us are enjoying even more snow at ski resorts; others have headed south to balmier climates to seek a reprieve from the cold and ever omnipresent snow.
The Christian monk, Thomas Merton, once compared the spiritual life to the search for a path in a field of untrodden snow: "Walk across the snow and there is your path." In the snow we see the unknown, and we are called, step by step, to forge a path. Snow invites us to have fun. At the same time, snow requires work (i.e., to clear paths and cars) Snow challenges us. Snow slows us down and be cautious. Snow reminds us of purity – but it also recalls to mind how easily it can be contaminated. We need to dress differently to stay safe in the cold. The blankets of snow speak to us in its deafening silence. Sometimes the snow and ice signal it is time to stay inside—turn inward, explore our hidden depths – take the extra time to pray, contemplate, meditate. In all these situations God speaks to us – to live in harmony with winter as we live in harmony with all of life. Life throws all these circumstances at us to teach us to grow and gain wisdom and patience in all seasons of life. No wonder that for those of us following Jesus’ teachings on Sundays; we hear his powerful call to find the Kingdom of Heaven within – as he interprets the law by unearthing the spirit and essence of the scriptures.
What is the snow teaching you?
What is God’s word to you through the mounds of snow outside your window?
"Walk across the snow and there is your path" - where is your path going?
Pray (ecumenical prayer)
"Earth teach me suffering.
As old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me courage,
As the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me freedom,
As the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me to forget myself,
As melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me regeneration,
As the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me humility,
As blossoms are humble with beginning."
— Chief Yellow Lark, Lakota