Welcome to winter in Michigan!
It's been seriously cold and snowing around here lately--the kind of cold that makes the snow crunch and squeak under your feet, causes 'ice pillars' in the sky...and freezes your nose hairs!
I like it, though!
I like the beauty of freshly fallen snow which blankets everything, muffles the noise of the everyday, and causes the lifeless look of dormant trees and plants to look like God's winter decor. I like the feeling of being outside on a very cold day, only to come inside and feel the warmth.
I love a hot cup of coffee or cocoa after shoveling the driveway.
Truth is, it's the cold which helps me appreciate real warmth!
A similar thing happens in our world.
The 'cultural mood' may be cold, partisanship is at an all-time high, busy-ness and subsequent superficiality may be the norm...but when we find real friendships, they warm our hearts!
Many of us are increasingly aware that we have no real 'friends', because we have no time to invest in friendship!
Yet, some of us are able to experience the blessing of real, authentic relationships.
That's one of the reasons I like the Church!
The Church of Jesus Christ is His Body...each person is valuable, each person is connected to others, each enriches the others' lives.
"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father" (Colossians 3:12-17)
Or at least, that's the way it's supposed to work! Does it in fact, happen?
Do we let it happen? Do we prioritize it?
Many people have said 'I don't need to go to church to be a Christian. I'll stay home and worship God my way.'
While that may technically be true--you relate to God as an individual and are not 'saved' because of any Church affiliation--it is practically false.
We simply cannot become the dedicated, sharpened, focused and transformed people He wants us to be without...each other!
Hebrews 10: 23-25: "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Isn't it nice to know that, in the midst of a cold, even frigid culture, we can have access to the warmth of real fellowship and friendship?
Sort of like the cup of cocoa on a frigid Michigan winter's day...
Drink it in!