Every year it makes its trek from wherever it’s stored, and moves into my closet. It’s a blue sweater from thirty years ago that has rarely ever been worn. In the winter of 2018-2019, it was never worn at all. So, why does it take up space?
It’s simple, really. It is the warmest sweater I have ever owned. The label says it’s made of 100% boiled wool. I’m not sure what boiled wool is, but there are probably a lot of upset sheep!
So, it’s incredibly warm. And incredibly itchy. And indestructible. It hangs around, waiting for one of those Polar Vortex days where the temperature starts below zero and never rises above zero. When that day arrives, the sweater comes out of the closet and goes onto my body. Over the past few years, that sweater has been useful at times when I had to be outside, regardless of the weather. I wore it to a funeral once. No one noticed it under my topcoat, but it saved the day for me. My ears almost fell off from exposure, but what my sweater covered, it protected. I remember another time I wore that sweater. The battery on my car died. It was eighteen degrees below zero where we lived at the time. I stood out in the cold, protected by my sweater, and installed a new battery in my car.
It does what it does remarkably well. Still, you can imagine that it takes a certain kind of day for the sweater to display its real value. I’m guessing all our Polar Vortex days are over for this year, so my sweater is going back to storage. I’m hopeful that Spring has sprung!
My understanding of the church is that we all have our gifts and talents, and we all have responsibilities to keep the Body of Christ functioning as it should. From fixers to singers to teachers to encouragers, we’ve each been gifted to do something for the Body of Christ. I hope that each of us will do what we do well. Somebody needs just what you can do. Use those gifts and abilities, and in doing so, fulfill your purpose.
See you Sunday. I likely won’t be wearing a blue sweater, but in case of a cold snap, that may all change! What we do here matters.
Dale has been in ministry for over forty years. He's a teacher, singer, and story teller.