“They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore,……God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  Revelation 7:14,17

“…to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus…..having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us…and having our bodies washed with pure water.”  Hebrews 10:19,22

I recently had an interesting experience that I believe might be analogous to the workings of the world.  I was in a place where it was snowing and the temperature was 5 degrees and with the windchill a minus 5 degrees (-15 degrees Celsius and -20 with windchill).  I had parked several blocks from where my office was located and I would have to walk through the wind and snow to get there.  Initially, actually the brisk temperature was invigorating and I took a moment to glance around.

However, in a very short period of time, before I had taken very many paces the biting of the cold had gripped me.  I bodily began to shiver and my hands, even though I had gloves on began to ache.  As I would occasionally glance up into the wind, it seemed as if my destination was still impossibly far off.  At last I arrived at my office thankful that there was no more distance to traverse and looking forward to the warmth that I was sure to find inside.  Alas, it was not to be.  For the office was in a building that was constructed early in the past century and the radiator heating was not working.  Not wanting to turn right around into the frigid blast to walk the several blocks back, I decided to stay in the office to get some work done (the computer did not seem to mind the cold in the least 🙂 ).  I had a companion also in the office and we both sat there cold, sometimes shivering.  Few words and very little was exchanged by us as we sat there.

Finally, when I could stand it no more (there was ice formed on the inside of the windows), I left, trekked the arduous blocks back to the car, somehow walking into the wind which now should have been at my back, in the ever harder falling snow.  Yet I made it back to my room and drew a hot bath with which to warm my chilled body.

As I lay there in comfort a realization came over me.  As I sat in the warmth I became aware that my thoughts had changed.  I was thinking and even praying for those souls who found themselves by trade necessitated to be out in that extreme weather.  Further yet, I found myself praying for the poor homeless souls who might be struggling just to find some decent shelter out of the brutality of the elements.  I started to wonder what I might be able to do to help.

Here’s the thing that also came to me.  While the very first instance of the cold was invigorating to me, very soon I was miserable.  I knew that I was passing other souls who were just as cold or even colder as I, but I paid them no nevermind.  My head was bent down against the blast of the wind and my thoughts were only on myself and where I was going.  Even in the office as I sat with my office mate, we hardly exchanged words, going about our tasks in that cold environment.  It was only when I began to be warm, did I start to think outside myself, start to consider those less fortunate than myself.

And then by the grace and mercy of the Holy Spirit speaking to me, it hit me; what I had experienced in the morning and was even in the warmer moments experiencing now, was a lesson about the world and being worldly.  For, as compared to the warming Love of Jesus Christ, the world is a very cold place.  There may be some aspects of that world that may start out intriguing or even inviting, but soon it grows very cold.  And in the frigidity of the world without Christ, one becomes self-absorbed.  There may be fellow travelers equally or more distressed but that is solely and souly their problem.  The person chilled to the bone by the emptiness of this world has little energy to look beyond themselves.  They are surrounded by cold, they can only experience cold and they only give off cold.  Finally as the cold grips them, it just builds and builds.

Then there is Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ who is the Lamb of God.  Jesus Christ who came to live with us and die for us so that we might be washed pure by the blood of His sacrifice.  By calling upon Him, allowing Him and His Spirit to wash over us, we can become warmed by His Love in our heart.  His loving warmth breaks the cold grip of selfishness and self centeredness that allows to look outside and beyond ourselves to the needs of the greater world.  When warmed by Christ, we find that He is sufficient and we no longer have to look to the world and its inadequacies to try to find warmth and love.

So if you find yourself chilled to the bone today.  You find that you are out in the frigid world whose love is a cold one, whose environment is one that saps all warmth generated and leaves us in a cold and lonely place.  Heed the invitation of Jesus Christ.  Come in!  Come in, free of charge and experience the warmth of His true love.  Feel the layers of cold and filth melt away to be replaced by a freeing and uplifting warmth.  Having received that warmth we will find ourselves compelled to share that warmth, not from feelings of force or obligation; but from feelings of generosity and true desire to spread that warmth.  It is in that place of warmth, which no earthly force can extinguish, that we will live lives of praise to Our Most Holy Father.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we confess that we are surrounded by a world of cold and darkness, not of Your making but of our own.  Forgive us when we try to find a way to survive in that world.  Instead fill us with the warmth that comes from a fellowship with Your Son Jesus Christ whose love will warm us to our very core.  That having His love inside us we may go forth in that love, to share His love to a world so desperately cold.  And in the sharing of His Love we may be seen as bringing praise to Your Most Holy Name.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen