Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Colour of Sand, Part II

The size of sand particles directly affects the amount of water that can be retained:  the smaller the particle, the more retention. This factor largely determines how much life can be sustained in between the grains of sand. Bacteria, algae and minute animals will make their home where sand can retain a watery cushion between its particles, and this, too, shades and tints the sand.  We might even say - if we were comparing sand to humans - that abundance of life (or lack thereof) will add to or diminish the colour of sand.

There is one other factor that determines the colour of sand - perhaps the most important factor of all:  sunlight.  Sand is coloured by its mineral composition, by the refining and polishing of nature's elements, by ocean waves moving it and causing it to mix with other sand particles, and by life sustained between its grains due to its ability to retain water.  But when the sun shines - the sand sparkles and glistens with beauty so unparalleled it is often blinding. We might even say - if we were comparing sand to humans - that each grain of sand refracts a unique colour of light given its history, journey and holy 'otherness.'

Sand has to endure quite a lot to reach a position of being defined as "sand." Harsh elements, challenges, and constantly being in a process of movement and change are what ultimately gives sand its shape and its beauty. The problems sand faces on its journey to becoming are framed in such a way that they serve as a springboard for purpose and meaning.  Difficult circumstances are harnessed for a glory that could come no other way - certainly not from an easier life.  This is redemption in its most extravagant form:  not merely restoring something to a position of functionality, but making it more beautiful than it was originally.  We might even say -  that if God can do this for sand - how much more will He do this for humans, made in His very image?

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