Wow, it’s hot! It’s the kind of weather that makes you wonder if a certain guy in red tights and a pitchfork has decided to move to Minnesota. How can a place that is frozen nine months of the year suddenly become an inferno? No wonder that many of the biblical descriptions of hell describe it as a place of fire, weeping and gnashing of teeth. A place of such heat is truly a miserable place.

Curiously, though, in the most famous book about hell (Dante’s Inferno) the very center of hell is described as a frozen lake, where the devil and the very worst unrepentant sinners are trapped in the ice. I don’t know why he chose to picture hell this way in his allegory. In his story the upper levels of hell have plenty of fire. But the worst punishment he can think of is not heat but cold. Perhaps he had spent a winter in Minnesota. Either way, what makes the hell of the bible and the hell of Dante’s Inferno truly miserable is not the temperature, but the separation from God and God’s people. To be cut off from God is worse than any summer heat or any winter ice. It’s what makes hell truly hellish. 

Fortunately, none of us have to be separated from God. Through the work of Jesus on the cross even the worst person can be forgiven and united with the Lord if they so choose. Romans 8 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?… Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present or the future, nor any powers, neither heights nor depth, (neither June nor January in Minnesota ☺) nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Even in this heat you still are loved by Jesus.

Stay cool. And stay close to God.

Pastor Mark

P.S. VBS is this week. Please pray for the children and all the volunteers who make it possible.