Monday, March 09, 2009

Sins May Become White as Snow

March 10, 2009

Tuesday of the Second Week in Lent

By Beth DeCristofaro

Come now, let us set things right, says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet,they may become white as snow; Though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

To the upright I will show the saving power of God. (Psalm 50:23)

The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:11-12)


God our Father, Abba, Creator, Help me. I place my life in your hands alone. I believe that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you. Free me from the burden of my sins. Save me from oppressions within me and temptations without. Turn my mourning into gladness and my sorrows into wholeness. (From the prayer of Esther)


Isaiah’s words are almost a complete roadmap of Lent. Choose me, God says, and you will be with me again. They remind me not only of the unconditional and merciful love God has for us, but the millennium of years in which God has loved me, you and us.

Today is the feast of Purrim, the Jewish feast which commemorates that the Jewish people, living in Persia around 450 BC, were saved from extermination. It is the story of Esther, daughter of the Chosen People and wife of the king. It is the story of God’s mercy and it is the story of God using unexpected means to manifest divine love. It is a story of the faith from which our faith grew, a story of our God loving our ancestors in faith to great extremes.

When a plot by a ranking official in the court of Ahasuerus, King of Persia to exterminate the Jews came to light, Mordicai brought the news to Esther who had been chosen to be Queen out of his harem. Mordicai asked her to beseech the king on behalf of her people even though to approach the king unrequested could result in death. We read Esther’s response last week. Esther brought her petition before God and sought God’s protection: Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion. Her unswerving faith and humble trust saved her people from massacre.

As Lent continues, I can’t help find solace and assurance in the stories of these ancestors. If God will save an entire people – who were probably as full of sin and missteps as I am today - because of the faith of a harem girl; if God promises that even Though (my) sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow, how can I fear?


The feast of Purim is marked by celebration, feasting and merrymaking in thanksgiving for deliverance from evil. Throughout Lent, we seek to deliver ourselves from evil. Today, as you mark Lent with your chosen acts of fasting, abstinence, prayer or almsgiving, do so with a light heart. Celebrate the courage of a harem girl and the many Jews and Christians who have gone before in faith toward the same God who loves us bountifully.

Read more about Purim at

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