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  • Writer's pictureBishop Mesrop Parsamyan


“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are scarlet red, I will turn it into white as snow; though they are red like crimson cochineal, I will make them white like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

God, having found his people in ignorance and in unbelief, exhorts them saying “Come now, let us reason [or examine] together…” God makes an invitation to His children to come to Him and to recognize that only if they were to accept His mercy and forgiveness, at once He could cleanse them of all their wrong sin.

In the same way, on this first day of the Great Lent, God extends this invitation to us. However, mustering up all sorts of reasons and excuses, we deem ourselves as beings without wrongs, and hence, we distance ourselves from God. There can be no change in our spiritual lives until we accept our wrongs, confess them to God, and seek his merciful forgiveness. The Apostle John says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.

In ancient times, a derivation from Armenian cochineal [red insect indigenous to the Araratian plains and Aras River valley], was a widely used red ink because it was durable and vivid, withstanding the effects of time and light. This ink was used for textiles, clothing, construction, and khachkars [cross-stones]. To this day, we have evidence from fourth century B.C.E. complexes, and later in the medieval times cross-stones, that show the durability of this ink.

To remove this crimson ink from wool to repurpose the wool is impossible. The metaphor used in the Scripture cited above speaks to this phenomenon – that God works the impossible. Our sins are like crimson ink on wool: seemingly impossible to remove, but, when we accept God’s invitation and decisively walk towards Him, Jesus Christ’s blood cleanses us of our sins entirely, making our wayward souls as white as snow.

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