DayBreaks for 1/09/20: Not Quite White
From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:
As some of you know, photography has become one of my hobbies. There’s not much that I enjoy more than getting off to some place that is pretty or interesting or which has wild animals and taking pictures of them. I can’t say that I’m much good at it – but I hope to get better and I’m reading things to help me learn.
I was recently able to spend part of a day in Yosemite where there was snow on the ground – not a lot of it, but enough to make the place even more magical than it already is. There is a challenge to taking good pictures in the snow. The color white reflects back 36% of the light waves that hit it. Camera light meters, however, have a real problem with white. They see white and rather than seeing all of it, they see only 18% (half) of the light waves bouncing off a white surface. As a result, cameras, left to automatic exposure, will typically render white snow as a dingy gray.
As I struggled a bit to get good exposures in Yosemite in the snow, I got to thinking about how the Bible says white is symbolic of purity and black is representative of sin. We would like to think that we’re “white” spiritually. This is never clearer than in the case of those who think that they’re “pretty good people” who don’t smoke, drink or cheat. They think they are good enough through their own efforts. But just like the camera has a problem with recognizing whiteness, so our inner eyes often struggle to see our own dingy grayness and instead we choose to think we see purity when it is in fact lacking. We make the problems we may have (even sin problems) someone else’s fault: they provoked me to anger, they cheated me so I’m justified in talking about them behind their back, or she wore too short of a skirt and made me lust.
That thinking doesn’t fly in God’s Kingdom. We can contribute to creating sinful environments that will either trip us up, or those around us, but ultimately, we are responsible for how we respond. We are responsible for our own sin.
The best any of us are on our own is like the blackest black you can imagine. It’s what the prophet was saying when he said, “All our righteous deeds are as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). They aren’t even gray – they’re filthy black!
Then, in steps Jesus, armed with the ability and knowledge to turn us white once again. Just as a photographic exposure can be adjusted to make the white more “white”, Jesus can take our sin-stained souls and brighten them up so that we will “shine like stars in the universe” (Phil. 2:15).
The eye of the camera is fooled by whiteness…and we can let our spiritual eyes be fooled, too.
PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for cleaning us up and making us shine! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>