A blanket of white covered the terrain for as far as the eye could see. Boundaries once created with the silhouette of hedges, were now blurred by the layer of fresh snow. The pathway to our casita was obscured by the tree branches bent low under the weight of the powder. I stood admiring the beauty of a Spring blizzard when an unfamiliar sound interrupted my meditation.
The groundskeeper was moving toward our casita with his snow-blower. He was actively clearing a route so we could leave without hiking through snow drifts. As I watched him move methodically up and down the walkway, I couldn’t help but wonder what he would do about the low-hanging branches. The thought had narrowly escaped my mind when he reached out and struck one of the branches. The branch that once drooped low with the weight of snow, was now free to return to its original position.
The weighted branch did nothing to change positions separate from the intervention of the groundskeeper. No amount of wishing and wanting would have been enough to release the branch from the burden of a bent-low posture. Without his involvement, the branch would have remained obstructed by the heaviness of the snow.
On our own, separate from God, we are burdened by the weight of sin and shame. Our posture has been bent low with the exhaustion of trying to be good enough, say the right things, prove our worth, and be good people. The wisdom of heaven saw our obscured intentions, motives, and postures and executed a plan to restore us. The plan had a name; it was Jesus.
We couldn’t do it on our own, just as the branch could not will itself to be unburdened by the weight it was under. We needed the intervention of someone else, so Jesus assumed the sin we had yet to commit. He willingly died a criminal’s death, was wrapped in grave clothes, and placed in a tomb that could not contain him. He bent low, so we could stand tall in the hope of his resurrection.
As he assumed the weight of our sin, we received the invitation to live as changed people. We don’t have to lug around the weight of past indiscretions and failures. If we’ve accepted the gift of grace offered by the resurrected Christ, we are free to walk differently. Are you burdened with the weight of trying to be someone different or behave differently? Let the image of the empty tomb, death defeated, minister to the place of your exhaustion. Just as the blanket of white covered the landscape around our casita, so the blood of Christ washes us white as snow.
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