A two hour delay today. “Hurray!” heard round the house by all but dad who had a suit and tie meeting that didn’t mind the inch of snow. So he put on his Christmas Stetson and braved the weather! Meanwhile, I started a fire. We burn wood in a fireplace not a stove. A bit messy, sometimes smoky, but on a day with temps like today a steady blaze is a comforting sight.
Every 30 – 45 minutes I add a log from the stack the oldest put by the deck door. I stick my barefoot out the door onto the mat, now wet, not snowy thanks to the broom efforts of the youngest, and grab the nearest piece. Then I open our lovely fireplace doors and toss it in.
We ordered a rather larger amount of wood last year with the excitement of a new house with a big fireplace, sadly it was a mild(ish) winter. Fortunately, this year is colder! Or at least we’ve gotten a routine for the fire going earlier. In any case, the wood is very dry and catches easily and burns quickly. As I was last stirring up the embers to keep it going and to catch the latest addition, I was reminded that embers that stray too far from the flame, or get caught in little piles of ash, go cold quickly. This seems to be just right for an analogy for Christians to the church.
We need a flame. A small group is fine and may warm you for awhile, but it is not a substitute for God’s chosen method for setting our hearts aflame with His Spirit in the community of His saints. We need each other. There is no sadder statement for the ineffective persuasion of the Gospel in the life of our culture than the individualized salvation of so many members of the church. The Gospel does speak. A Bible is not just a book, several of which can be seen on display in the Museum of American History. It isn’t only our past. It isn’t even only our future. It is our present call to real life in the midst of an ever-increasingly hostile and senseless word. When Christians live out community they influence the lives of those around them more than they realize and unfortunately, when we fail our communities that too is influential.
Praying today that you would find your place in a community and that God would not only allow them to serve you but would prosper your service to them. Blessings.