Living in Minnesota, a fireplace is one of the few comforts that brings the most joy to my heart. Our old house had a beautiful, rustic, real wood burning stove. There is something so heartwarming about the smell of a wood stove. I loved that fireplace, and used it religiously, despite not having a clue how to work it! We were only in that house a little over three years though, and I didn’t have any experience with one, so I was only starting to get the hang of it by the time we moved out. That first year we experienced 95* downstairs next to the stove and 60* upstairs! I eventually figured out how the damper worked and how to use house fans to move the air around, and probably would have gotten pretty decent at controlling it had we stayed in that house longer, but that is life.
Our current house has a gas fireplace. It is ridiculous. I light the pilot light in the fall, then use the remote to click that baby on whenever I see fit… which is basically every morning from October-April. It is pathetically easy and still offers warmth. The flames are pretty basic and lame compared to a wood fire, but it’s about as easy as it gets! Those of you who know me know that mornings aren’t my strong suit, but sitting in front of my little fire, under the soft glow of my end table lamp, with a warm cup of coffee in my hand and my prayer book in my lap, I have found a way to tolerate mornings.
Why am I telling you this? Because our current blog series is on Faith, Hope and Love. This week the focus is on hope and I was having a hard time articulating hope. Hope is like the fire in your belly that carries you through life’s storms. You know that you are called to greater things, and that pain is temporary. We always have hope in our Eternal reward- heaven.
For some reason when I was thinking about hope, I just kept thinking about how faith, hope and love are so connected and the analogy of my little gas fireplace kept coming to mind. (Maybe it is because I have been very patiently waiting for fall and cooler weather!) Instead of fighting it, I am just going to rock this! You have probably noticed that I am an incredibly simple person, so I like to use common analogies to help wrap my mind around more complex concepts.
Let’s pretend that the pilot light is faith. It is a concrete, YES, I believe! This tiny little flicker doesn’t look like much, but without it, the fire just can’t happen.
Hope then is the fuel that brings the fire to life. When I open that propane line in the fall I am letting the fuel flow. In my imperfect analogy, I first said YES to God in my head (lighting the pilot light of faith) and am now opening my heart to the promises that the bible reveals (opening up the propane line of hope). It is what sustains my faith, especially during times of distress. I can remain hopeful in times of worry because I know that the Lord has great plans for me. This “fuel” tank is filled through daily bible reading and immersing myself in God’s word.
And lastly love. Love is the heat that radiates out of the hearth and drives out the early morning chill. Real love can only be manifest when we first proclaim our faith- our YES, I believe (the pilot light of faith). When we continually add fuel to create a fire by hearing God’s spoken word in Sacred Scripture, so we can arm ourselves with His words of love and encouragement (the fuel line of hope). And only then will our love be a blazing fire which reaches out and warms the hearts of those around us. We love, because He first loved us.
We love the way that Jesus loved. Not in the self-rightous way that that the Pharisees “loved” or the way “Christians” all over Facebookland “love”. But we love Jesus, because we know who He is because we spend time with Him, and have learned to love others in an unselfish way because we see the person of Jesus in others. We become madly in love with souls and through a gentle, welcoming spirit, we help others to experience the profound love of Christ.
Until next time my dear friends- your sister in Christ,