Our church meets in a freezer.
Not your average kitchen freezer–it’s a little larger than that. A lot larger, actually.
You see, we meet in the middle of open farmland fields, renting an old brick cinder-block armory.
It’s spacious inside–from the cement floors to the almost three story high open ceiling, where what heat the furnace does pump out tends to congregate.
In such a setting, free flowing winds whip and whirl through the open space fields, while South Jersey temperatures hover in the 20’s and 30’s. Intimate fellowship for the soul, worship for the spirit–and plenty of coffee and tea for the body–is what we rely on for warmth, in a building where the thermometer never climbs much beyond 59 degrees in winter.
Multiple layers of clothing is the designated dress code of necessity.
I wear my L.L. Bean “second skin” with heavy weight turtlenecks and Irish wool sweaters over leggings and jeans. Fingerless alpaca gloves allow me to turn the pages of my Bible. And, I never venture out of the house in winter without one of my wool hats or headwraps. I’m all ready for church in deep freeze from head to toe–especially when I’m decked out in my sheepskin boots!
So, I have no idea what I was thinking last week when I chose to wear a pair of stylish ankle boots crafted in flimsy man-made materials to compliment my brown pants. I grabbed a worn thin pair of chestnut colored acrylic socks in a brain-dead moment–because they matched.
By the time we arrived at, what we fondly call, “the base,” I knew I was in trouble. Bitter cement-floor-cold pierced the helpless soles of my shoes, sinking their icicle fangs effortlessly through my threadbare socks. I thought of my grandmother’s house and that vintage ceramic foot warmer she kept near the front door. I longed to possess it, filled with steaming hot water to rest my feet upon.
It felt like I was strolling the Alaskan tundra in bare feet. My poor freezing footsies! I was so distracted by them. A thorn in my flesh stealing my thoughts to all things cold and self-preserving.
The overwhelming urge to curl up in a little ball with my feet wrapped under me flickered through my mind. A progression of pros and cons for the idea marched after that. I think the Pastor was discussing a passage in Luke, but I only remember that because there was a picture of Zacchaeus hanging out of a tree wearing sandals in the warmth of the Middle Eastern climate illustrated on the PowerPoint screen. With frozen toesies trembling in my boots, I had no creative imagining for wearing bare feet in sandals at the moment!
Truth be told, I had a flurry of vain imaginings fluttering through my brain that needed taking captive. It was difficult to concentrate on the purpose for being in the building with such random thoughts drifting through my mind during the service.
And, mental pictures.
A mental picture of my husband’s WOOL SOCK drawer from which I usually grabbed a pair of socks for Sunday mornings.
So, that’s what I did wrong!
I was poorly shod and unprepared for the day because I forgot a vital element for cold morning habits. Here I was, wearing cheap synthetic socks, worn out and worn through, which I thoughtlessly chose to make a fashion statement. Genuine thick wool socks would have been a strong shield between my body and the cement floor. It was something I always made a point of wearing on cold Sunday mornings. How could I have forgotten?
The phrase resonated in my mind. I spoke the words aloud as I shared my frozen foot dilemma with a friend during fellowship time. The life lesson was not lost on me in this metaphor.
Wool is a natural product, from the fleece of sheep it is harvested, cleaned, carded smooth with sharp spikes, and then twisted tight, spun into yarn. Knit into socks. It is a textile that breathes naturally, yet possessing natural animal oils, the fibers are water repellent. Wool keeps the heat of the body tight inside. Well cloaked. Well guarded.
Cares and worries of cold invasions disappear.
Man-made counterfeit acrylic threads never do the job in quite the same way. They wear thin and wear out. But, threadbare wool socks can be revived with a darning ball and needle weaving wool yarns; mending a thinned heel to minister warmth to the human foot once again.
Wearing my wool socks on Sunday keeps the cold out and the heat in my body, so my mind and heart can be warmed by the Word of God distraction free. A flesh and blood need is met so the spirit is freed to open wide, receiving His abundance, rather than closed and curled up, tight and trembling, to keep warm.
Make No Mistake: I will NOT forget my wool socks this coming Sunday! I will be one with the sheep metaphors, resplendent in Scripture, comparing Believers to this humble and often helpless domesticated animal. Clothed in humility, aware of my own helplessness before the throne of God, is how my feet should be shod when I step into the House of the Lord. Wool socks keep the blood circulating–alive–and ready to walk in the Truths for making the character of my life more like His Life.
. . . easily distracting from higher things.
Not quite walking in the image of Jesus Christ . . . was I . . .
In a perfect world, cozy wool socks cushion every step. But, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Upon reflection I have to wonder at how poorly I fared on this particular Sunday morning when a creature comfort was denied me. I had cold feet. Cold feet and hungry bellies, sick bodies and wounded hearts always have the power to undo us in our humanity, distracting us from our focus on He whose comforts transcend fleecy wool. This is something Paul spoke to when he listed a host of trials he ENDURED while keeping his mind stayed upon the purposes of the Lord:
“Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern (is) for all the churches.”
2 Corinthians 11:25-28 NKJV
And I just had frozen feet through every fault of my own.
I am grateful for that drawer full of wool socks. But, I pray, should their be a next time, I might fare better in His Spirit were it empty.
This little sheep–humble and helpless–has much yet to grow into . . .
Sharing Wool Socks on Sunday this week with:
Judith’s Wholehearted Wednesday
Jennifer Dukes Lee Tell His Story
Lyli at Thought Provoking Thursdays at 3D Lessons 4Life
Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party
Laura on Faith Filled Friday at Missional Women
Fellowship Fridays at Christian Mommy Blogger
Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays
My Fresh Brewed Life with Barbie – Weekend Brew
Janis with Sunday Stillness