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There’s an old story: “Jacob the Tailor,” which takes place in a little town in a faraway place. Jacob felt that he had been mistreated at synagogue. He withdrew from the community of faith and isolated himself from friends, neighbors, and spiritual family.

After a few weeks, the Rabbi visited Jacob. After a polite greeting, a very awkward silence followed. The Rabbi suggested that the two just sit and watch the fire in the fireplace.

So, the two men sat in silence for over an hour, watching and listening to the crackling fire. Then the Rabbi took the fireplace tongs, and removed a piece of burning coal from the fire, and placed it a good distance away from the fireplace.

As the silence continued, the two watched the lone piece of coal become darker and darker, cooler and cooler. Finally, the piece of coal lost all its energy, glow, and warmth.

Jacob the Tailor said to the Rabbi, “I’ll return to synagogue this Sabbath.”

This story teaches that, when we separate ourselves from a vibrant fellowship, we run the risk of cooling down. We run the risk of forfeiting God-given warmth generated in a faith community. The Scriptures consistently teach us that a faith community is a God-given gift!

God gives divine energy through other people, through fellow believers. We certainly run the risk of getting burned in the community by a “hot remark” or a “burning criticism.” But any community of faith worth it’s salt will allow divine forgiveness and healing to freely flow when hurtful things happen.

Every community of forgiveness and healing is close to God. God keeps the fires of faith burning when people are connected well together and living in peace.

Please pray that each community of faith (locally and far away) be powerfully and peacefully blessed with God’s presence.

Pray for a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation to freely flow through our lives, especially when our emotions have been injured by another (on purpose or by accident).

Pray for God’s Holy Spirit to bring warmth and energy to us (individually and together), that we might daily experience the warm glow of God’s love.

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