Cold feet and socks

Hebrews 10:32-39
I’d like to continue a talk I gave last night.

Gloria and I attended an interfaith prayer service. This gathering was part of several city-wide events planned to commemorate MLK Day. It was a simple night, and a blessing to share.

I told those gathered about a question Gloria asked me yesterday morning. In Corpus Christi, it was forty degrees before I left home. That’s not the kind of cold a lot of the country experienced. But it was enough to make my hands cold. When that happens, I can’t but let Gloria know how cold they are.

No, I can’t just tell her. She has to experience it!

So, I put both my cold hands on her arms. She jumped and asked me, “Why are your hands cold if you’re wearing socks?”

Now, that may sound like a silly question to you. It’s actually a loving one. She knows me. She knows if my feet are cold my entire body will be cold for the rest of the day.

That question allowed me to offer this theme last night: if one part of the body is hurting, the rest of the body suffers.

Unfortunately, many within the body don’t recognize how other parts are suffering. I’m convinced one of the greatest sins we perpetuate is the disunity of the body of Christ. We let our agendas and ideologies cloud our vision of one another. As a result, we can’t see what many of our sisters and brothers endure.

Is that a willful choice? Is ignorance our greatest fault? Maybe we do see it, but we’ve learned to excuse away our responsibility to walk in faith with one another.

Quite often Christians talk about the will of God. They mostly mean that in personal terms. What is God’s will for me? Is it God’s will for me to take this job or make this decision? I don’t have a problem with that. Only, it can cloud our vision, if we’re not careful. 

Hebrews 10 encourages Christians who are struggling. Once, they were a lively congregation. As an example, they “had compassion for those who were in prison.” But something happened. Persecution set in and deterred them from living a full life of faith.

Part of that meant their personal faith declined. It also meant their compassion and concern for others faded, too. So, the writer admonishes them, “For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” In this light, the will of God isn’t something personal. It seems to connect to how we serve those in prison or suffering any other plight.

MLK, in his Letter From Birmingham Jail, wrote, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

What about our generation? What keeps us from acknowledging the suffering of others? What keeps us from working for their well-being? Could it be we miss how much our humanity connects us?

Stay blessed…john