Neither Hot nor Cold

Fire and Ice
Revelation 3:16: And so, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

I don’t know how many groups you are a part of. The average for present day Americans is six different what are called “affinity groups.” Such a group is made of persons who share an interest activity, such as golfing or alligator wrestling. I counted up the groups I am a part of and came up with ten, which probably means I am overactive and need to relax some more.

Two groups I belong to are the choir and Evensong Bells. One of the interesting things about these groups is that they both have people who have, shall we say, temperature regulation issues. Given the same environment for a rehearsal room, one person may experience the room as blazing hot, while another sitting beside him or her will attest that it is surely too cold. In bells, we are often treated to the sight of one player fanning herself to cool off while the player next to her is piling on sweatshirts and heavy winter coats. This fascinating phenomenon takes place without fail at every rehearsal. I don’t know the cause or the remedy: I’m just having a good time watching it happen.

It’s no secret that this winter has been a hard one, with cold temperatures and enough snow to make us heartily sick of it. We have experienced closings, delays, outages and inconvenience, but as I heard someone say, we’ll be wishing for cooler conditions in July when parking lots are approximately the temperature of the sun. It seems that we as human beings long for what we don’t have at the moment, and then want something else entirely when we have that. I think that’s called yearning and it’s part of what keeps us moving forward.

In Revelation, John wrote about a congregation of his time with temperature regulation issues. He characterized the church at Laodicea as being neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. The implication is that it is better to be hostile to the Gospel than indifferent to it. God has no use for those who don’t make a choice. The same principle applies to human relationships: I’m sure you’ve heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate, but rather indifference. So it is as well with believers.

So, whether you are as hot-natured as a volcano or as cold as an icicle, I congratulate you. You have chosen where you stand, and that’s much better than being neither one nor the other. Other passages speak of keeping our “first love” that we had for Christ, for being on fire with the Gospel so that our heat and warmth touch others. And may this be so for each of us. Amen.



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