Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“Blessed is the one who considers the poor!” Psalm 41:1
Did you know that many new cars come equipped with heated seats?
The seat heater might seem like a great convenience in the dead of
winter, but it sure does raise a lot of questions.
Why was the seat heater invented? Once heated seats became an
option on our cars, how many people truly wanted them? Or, were
they installed automatically, thereby immediately raising the prices of
new cars? And, of course, isn’t the heated seat just something else to
break, wear out, and ultimately go kaput?
The seats in my first car were made from a material called vinyl. You
may have heard of it. I think vinyl might have been better, in the
sense that vinyl seats had the capacity to build character.
In the summer, vinyl seats absorbed every bit of heat from the
blistering sun, quickly transforming the seating surface in your car into
molten lava. Back in the day, as I was applying ice to the back of my
legs, I would never have thought that heated seats would be a good
idea. Paying extra for them… preposterous!
Friends, please, I am warning you, beware the heated seats! Heated
seats are just a gateway. The next thing you know you’ll have heated
windshield wipers, and heated steering wheels!
Oh, wait, never mind… And once you get all those heated things in/on
your car, the simple heating won’t be enough. Trust me, soon, we’ll
be so spoiled we’ll desperately want (not need, mind you) seats that
are cooled, and oh by the way… could you figure out a way for us to
dial in the temperature a bit? I like my steering wheel heated to a
pleasant 72 degrees, anything more means inevitably sweaty palms
(safety concern), anything less and why bother?
Yes, beware of the heated seats! They’ll seem so nice at first, but…
as you drive through the city and see the tents of the homeless
fluttering in the cool breeze, as you drive past the young woman with a
downtrodden face and a soggy cardboard sign that reads, “Homeless,
hungry,” and yep, you guessed it, “cold.” There will be a part of your
heart that’ll wish those cushy heated seats were never even invented.
The warmth from your seat will somehow be transferred to a sharp red
heat in your face as you blush and wonder, “How did I end up sitting
here, and she end up standing there?”
Oh, whatever, who am I kidding? Go ahead and get the heated seats,
pay extra for ‘em if you can, and crank those suckers up… especially
if they have the power to kindle within us a little more empathy and a
stronger connection with our neighbors in need.
Question for reflection: What modern convenience would you find it
difficult to live without, why?
Yours in Christ,
God of love, it is so very easy to be self-consumed, but it is so much
better to balance our personal concerns with a healthy respect for
those around us. Guide us into meaningful service, lasting generosity,
and true empathy for those we have been called to love. We pray this
all in Jesus’ name, Amen.