Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Baby, it’s cold outside! Don’t go there… I am not starting a discussion about a song. Leaving the house in order to open the building to the public at 7:00 am as a “Warming Center,” one thing was very obvious – it is COLD outside! The current temperature is -19F and the windchill is around -46F.
As I sat here pondering just how people might respond to our offer of ‘warmth,’ I realized that we use the word ‘cold’ in many different ways with interesting twists. For instance, when I was younger it was quite puzzling to hear about the “Cold War.” Or consider the response you might have heard or used, not in reference to a drink, but someone’s behavior: “That was cold!”
We use ‘cold’ as an adjective, a noun, and an adverb! As an adjective is can refer to just what we are experiencing today, “a low or relatively low temperature, especially when compared with the human body.” Or then there is emotional usage: “lacking affection or warmth of feeling.” As a noun the word refers to a low temperature (especially in the atmosphere) and the miserable, but common viral infection in which the nose and throat becomes inflamed, typically causing running at the nose, sneezing, a sore throat, and other similar symptoms. Though rare, the word is also used informally as an adjective meaning completely or entirely.
So maybe we need to be a bit more precise!
Though I am concerned about the welfare of people when we experience conditions such as those outside this week, I am more concerned about spiritual matters. Though I want people to know that they are welcome at First Christian Church for a respite from the bitter temperatures, I am more concerned that we become known for our “warmth of feeling.”
We are all too often guilty of not acting and speaking properly to others, displaying a lack of affection. At times, however, we are simply guilty of not knowing how to show are positive concerns… and that also causes pain. With the bitter temperatures outside and concerns over how other perceive our actions, I am reminded of the words of Proverbs 25:20 – “Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda.”
Father, forgive us for the times we have taken those garments both intentionally and inadvertently!
My prayer is that we will be the ‘warming center’ that God wants us to be, providing food and warmth for the physically cold and hungry, as well as a ‘warming center’ for those who have been marginalized, those who are hurting, those who have been battered and bruised by those “lacking affection or warmth of feeling.”