George Bowers Sr.: Love covers our garbage, like snow
We finally have the first snowfall of the season! And if the forecasters are right, Old Man Winter is certainly making up for lost time by delivering a whopping 1-2 feet of the white stuff before it’s all over. While I can appreciate a few beautiful inches, I can easily do without an entire trainload. At any rate, we’ll take what we get and make the best snow cream out of it.
In spite of the extra work and expense it creates, snow actually provides many benefits including the addition of both nitrogen and moisture into our gardens and fields. Since it comes in winter, its liquid often percolates down through the soil as it melts and enters the groundwater recharging our aquifers and replenishing our wells for the upcoming summertime when the temperatures will be much warmer and the grass much greener.
One of snow’s major benefits, and perhaps the most significant, is simply its beauty. Few landscapes exceed the glory left behind by a fresh snowfall. Snow’s ability to pile up flake by flake upon tree limbs, bare ground and manmade items alike creates a uniform blanket that glistens and sparkles when the sunlight peaks out after God finishes his January masterpiece.
Downed tree limbs, fallen leaves and even trash in our yards disappear as they are covered with billions of tiny white puzzle pieces. Even landfills and junkyards are enveloped and all the rubbish and garbage vanish beneath the pristine purity of winter’s all-encompassing sweater. Later, as temperatures rise and the snow melts away, whatever it covered will become visible again, but at least for a few brief winter moments, the countryside is transformed into uniformity and splendor.
Snow’s ability to cover all imperfections reminds me of the incredible power of love. Peter tells us in his first letter, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).” The ability of love to overlook an offense and to forgive hurts is not unlike the blanketing effect of a January snowfall. Even though we may have defects, selfishness and shortcomings, the love of family members and friends covers these leaving a landscape of beautiful relationships. Likewise, as we love others deeply, our love for them minimizes their failures and faults and causes them to be more beautiful in our own eyes as well.
Ultimately, the overwhelming love of God expressed through the shed blood of his son makes it possible for all of our sins not just to be covered, but removed and even glorified. And what he leaves behind is more pure than new fallen snow and more beautiful than the Shenandoah Valley after a blizzard. His all-encompassing love never melts away and the sin it covers is not just hidden, but permanently eliminated.
Unlike the snowstorms that we cannot avoid, however, we must choose the covering of God’s love. He gives us the freedom to reject his great mercy and even disbelieve in him if we so choose. But if we do, the ugly trash of our sin and guilt remain, littering the landscapes of our lives. If and when we receive his free gift of unmerited grace, he begins his work of glorious transformation.
As we look out on the accumulating snow this weekend, may it remind us of the love of the eternal God that can cover the multitude of our sins. And may it remind us to extend this love to others as well that we may see the beauty and glory God has placed within them.
Appreciating the beauty, George
George Bowers Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of seven books including his latest book of poetry, Holy Verses. He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.