Snow Over Pendle

There was nowhere to park; every verge, passing place and car park was chocablock.  It was like going to Morecambe beach on a sunny afternoon in August. Both sides of the road were lined with cars, families were everywhere, enjoying a holiday atmosphere with good, old fashioned fun. Yet it isn’t the beach I describe, but Pendle Hill, and it wasn’t warm but -2 degrees centigrade. I met there with friends who came 40 miles to introduce their children to sledging. A thick covering of fluffy snow had settled on the hill and locals and non-locals flocked to it in droves ahead of further Covid restrictions. There were snowmen, snowballs and sledge tracks aplenty. The two little girls I joined were somewhat wary of sliding down the slopes at first, but the elder of the two became quite the expert by the time we were finished. My steel toe-capped wellingtons do my feet few favours in snow, so I was glad to get back to my car to begin navigating through the traffic.

It would seem we Englishmen react to snow as we do sunshine: if it’s there, go out and enjoy it, because it might be another year before you see it again. Ah, the joys of living on a temperate, North Atlantic island. Isaiah 1:18 uses snow as a similitude for righteousness:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

On account of its white brilliance, before it gets trampled, thrown, pressed and melted, it is a picture of personal holiness. It wonderfully reflects the sun’s rays, adding a beautiful veneer to the landscape. In a country like Israel, and to a lesser extent England, we might add its rarity to the parallel. The more insistent one is on seeing it, the higher up one must go. In Israel, try Mount Hermon, in Lancashire, Pendle. To have scarlet sin replaced by white righteousness, however, one must ascend Calvary, and dwell on Mount Zion thereafter.  

If only we desired moral purity and Christ’s righteousness with the same degree of enthusiasm we seek the frozen water in which we frolic.