I'm not greedy as a teacher. When school ends each May, Gracie Greer, our WCS Director of Curriculum, asks what we need individually for the upcoming year to make our classroom more productive. I usually ask for two things; a new DVD I've found about the life of Jesus and a box of markers like you see above. But they aren't just any markers. They are 256 assorted broad line Crayola markers in sixteen colors. We do quite a bit of art work in my Bible classes and we go through one of these boxes per year. I've found that kids, even senior boys, like doing illustrative work and I faithfully post each masterpiece on the wall with the name of the artist on the front. You know what else these markers are good for? Grading tests! Last week, I had well over one hundred final exams, ten to twelve pages long, to grade. Marking the tests with markers is much easier and takes less effort than using a pen, and the X's and checks are easier to count when the final score is tallied. I would guess it took between six and seven hours to complete the task. I took multiple breaks and I was dragging when the last test was finished. My hand was sore as I put aside the red Crayola marker for the last time until August.
Saturday is laundry day for me. I actually had less to wash than normal which means less ironing as well. What's the first rule our mother's always followed when washing clothes? CHECK THE POCKETS. As I pulled my dress clothes out of the apartment washer, I found something I did not know was lost. That red marker I used for the tests had been hiding in the front pocket of my best dress pants, the Jos. A. Bank ones Dave and Sally gave me for Christmas. The evidence was a large red spot about two inches wide and almost perfectly circular. I will say this for myself- I didn't panic. I took the pants back to my apartment and sprayed them with Resolve and scrubbed- no big change. I went online and found the Crayola website. Sure enough, they had instructions for getting out stains for each product depending on the fabric. I followed their advice, bought some Clorox 2, and soaked the trousers in the bleach and hot water just like they said, Sure enough, the stain came right out and is not even noticeable. Even though the box said the markers are washable, I had my doubts. But Crayola proved true to their word and a wardrobe calamity was averted or at least until my next act of memory loss. Last spring, I left gum in the front pocket of a suit and when it was cleaned and pressed, the cleaners were leery of their chances of success of removing the residue. Fortunately, I'm two for two in the removal of recent careless stains.
The Scriptures are very descriptive in places. One of the ways the Bible describes sin is as a stain. Even more precisely, the prophet Isaiah likens it to a red stain:
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
Three different colors of the same family define the blight which separates us as children from the Father. But there is good news. The blood of Jesus removes that ugliest of stains, the sin that drags us down and threatens to suffocate the life, eternal and sometimes physical, right out of us. The color of His blood is the identical color of the stain. It takes red to remove red. That's a miracle on any number of levels. My clothing stain was accidental or more appropriately, carelessness. My spiritual stains are intentional. But then again, so was the act of cleansing that allows for the washing away of those sins. He is the blood donor for me.
Applicable quote of the day:
"God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specifically armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org