This last week the saying, as ‘useless as a chocolate teapot’ came to mind. We all know how good a chocolate teapot is, don’t we? Well, in April I had bought a special gluten free Easter Egg for one of our children, but then forgot to give it to her! So, this last week when we were going to meet up, I put it, along with an extra white chocolate ‘Snowman’ egg which I had purchased at Christmas, into the car. I checked the Best Before date and both eggs were still well in date. Later in the day, when I was again looking at the eggs, oh dear!! Both chocolate eggs had melted in the heat of the sunshine. The well-loved children’s film The Snowman came to mind because the chocolate snowman looked just like the Snowman at the end of the film, when he had melted, and just a pile of snow was left on the ground. Leaving the eggs in the car on one of the hottest days of the year so far, was not a good idea. The eggs had been fine in a cool place but not when exposed to the heat of the sun.
All of us need to be in a place which is good for us, and not in an atmosphere which will do us harm. The company we keep will rub off onto us and will affect our lives in many ways. Our circle of friends can encourage us, supporting and building us up if we ever feel a bit down. Friends can share our dreams and hopes and will not laugh at us if we get it wrong or if things don’t go according to plan.
However, if we mix with the wrong company we can soon be dragged down. As they say, no one likes being with a miserable person because before you know it, you can be feeling miserable too.
It is sometimes said, when referring to a young person that has ‘gone off the rails’, that they got in with the wrong crowd. I think it can be said of older people too. Proverbs Ch. 12 v 26 says we should choose our friends with caution.
One of the reasons why the Alcohol Anonymous group often hire Methodist Church rooms for their meetings is because they know it to be non-alcoholic premises, and therefore a safe space for those struggling with alcohol addiction.
Although ‘church’ can be made up of different people, with various personalities interacting, and therefore never a perfect church, it is still a good place to meet with friends and people of like mind. The Church is the body of Christ’s followers, and we are here for one another, and we need each other.
Have you heard the story about the Minister who visited an elderly man who had not been to Chapel for several months. They were having a good conversation, sitting around the cosy fire in the man’s front room. The subject of Chapel came up and the old man admitted he had not been for quite some time. The minister didn’t say anything, however, he got up from his chair and reached for the pair of fire tongs from the companion set. Using the tongs, he very carefully picked out an extremely red-hot ember from the well burning fire and laid it down on the hearth. Nothing was said as the two men watched the piece of coal. Slowly over only a few minutes, the fiery redness began to lose its brilliance and, as the colour faded so too did the heat. It was as cold and dead as a doornail. After a little longer, the Minister got up again and just as carefully as before, placed the cold piece of coal back amongst the other glowing embers on the fire. Firmly bedded down, it didn’t take long before the coal was glowing red once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.
The old man, with a smile, looked across at his wise visitor. “I’ll be there on Sunday” he said, nodding his head. His guest smiled back and said, “It will be good to see you!”.
In the days of the early Church, we read how the disciples met together in the ‘Upper room’. They met when they feared the authorities outside, and they also met when they were waiting for the gift of the Holy Spirit and further instructions as to what to do next. Daily they were together for prayer and fellowship, encouraging one another in their Christian faith, and growing in their discipleship.
Perhaps you have not been to church for some time. Maybe something or someone from the past has ‘put you off’. Remember there is no such thing as a perfect church here on earth. Fortunately, God still loves us even when we get it wrong and more than anything else, God wants to be friends with us. By spending time with God and Jesus, on our own yes, but also with other Christians in a Church and/or Fellowship group, our relationship and friendship with Jesus and others will grow.
Remember a melted snowman is no use at all. It’s better to build one another up, and we do that with being amongst the right company.
5 June 2023