The Miserere Racist?

Psalm 50 (51 MT):9:
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.

Until recently in my private prayer when I came to this Psalm (once a day) I would instead say “cleaner than snow,” sometimes even “cleaner than obsidian”! Then I saw a connection with theosis, the transfiguration by God’s Energies (salvation) for which we hope. The Lord was a swarthy Palestinian, and that didn’t stop Him from appearing mostly “white,” radiating all that Uncreated Light not just from His clothing but also His exposed face, hands, and feet. Orthodoxy traditionally relates this verse to Baptism; in fact we call the newly-baptized “newly-illumined.” So Christianity isn’t a race-change operation!

Icon of Transfiguration of Christ


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