Today's Lectionary Text
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation:
“I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
I used to do triathlons, after a race I would really look forward to a cold drink of water to replace the fluids I had lost. That cold drink would refresh me and return some energy to my tired body. I also liked to jump in the hot tub allowing the hot water and jets to soothe my aching muscles. I didn’t like drinking a lukewarm bottle of water or jumping into a lukewarm hot tub. They didn’t refresh me or relieve my pains.
In today’s scripture we read a stinging rebuke to the church in Laodicea, calling them neither hot or cold. I always thought that hot was good and cold was bad and lukewarm was really bad. After learning about the geographical area of Laodicea I no longer think so.
Laodicea was a rich city, known worldwide for their healing salve, which sat in between the cities of Colossae and Hierapolis. Colossae was known for their cool refreshing springs. People would come to be rejuvenated and invigorated by the cold water of Colossae. Hierapolis had hot springs and people came from all over to sit in the hot bubbling water, which many believed had healing powers to alleviate pain from their aching body. The lukewarm, mineral laden, water of Laodicea would make people sick.
As disciples of Christ we are called to be a refreshing cold drink to those who need encouragement, just as Jesus encouraged His disciples in the upper room before going to the cross. Or, sometimes we may be called to be a hot spring to help soothe the aches and pains life can throw at those around us. Go, be “cold”, be refreshing and rejuvenating to someone in need of encouragement. Go, “be hot,” be soothing to those who are in need of comfort.
Ashland, NE UMC
Prayer for Reflection
Heavenly Father we humbly ask you to see the opportunities where we can expand your kingdom by being “cold” and help encourage those in need and to be “hot” to help ease the burden on those in pain.
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