Written by: Denise Serafini on Wednesday, November 01, 2017
We had no idea what to expect when we were told of the phenomenon that occurs in the Sangre de Cristo Valley. It appears that the Spanish explorer Antonio Valverde y Cosio named the Sangre de Cristo ("Blood of Christ") mountains after being impressed by the reddish hue of the snowy peaks. As the entire mountain range surrounding the valley turns red, so also do you see the red reflection in the surrounding rivers and small bodies of water. It’s an amazing sight to behold.
Jean and I got to experience this phenomenon as we were leaving the Church of the Precious Blood after our event for the evening on the 9th. The setting sun pervaded the Sangre de Cristo Mountains with an ethereally red hue. While we were driving I could only think of the Mercy of Christ in His Passion and consider the way I felt wrapped in it as we made our way through the valley. For a little more than 20 minutes we got to bask in the awesome nature of what the Creator has wrought.
In Exodus 24 we read of Moses sprinkling blood as an important part of a ceremony commanded by God. The context shares part of the reason for this ritual:
[Moses] got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”
Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (verses 4–8).
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ spoke of blood during the Last Supper. In sharing a final meal with His followers, He said the wine represented His blood that would be poured out for us (Luke 22:20). His blood was the seal of the new covenant of grace (1 Corinthians 11:25). His death on the cross was the perfect sacrifice on behalf of the sins of humanity and served as a fulfillment of the ritual sacrifices of the Old Testament.
Perhaps God created this phenomenon in the Sangro de Cristo Valley to continually remind those that pass through it of his great covenant.
If you are ever traveling cross country, I would highly suggest you plan to pass through the valley at sunset. I suspect that it’s a singular experience that you will only see in these mountains.