Sacred Spaces 344 – The 4 Classical Elements (Fire)
7 August 2012
(I love how ideas come to me. I was driving back to Durban North from Toti, listening to a song by Glenn Packiam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6f3DuWciow (Burning in me). Then I thought of the 4 classical elements: earth, air, fire & water. So I thought I would write about each one over the next 4 weeks. Maybe you will find a lesson or encouragement from these musings.)
My friend Matt (from my church) and I always joke with one another with the lyrics of worship songs. He knows I love songs with the word “FIRE” in it. For me it depicts the passion of God and us as His followers. Some however do like the more reflective type of songs.
My recent favourite song with the word: FIRE in it comes from Matt Redman, simply called: Fires. Listen to it here:
God who keeps our fires burning
Burning through the darkest night
See the hope in our hearts
The faith in our eyes
You can move the highest mountain
You can keep our dreams alive
You’re the joy of our hearts
You’re the fire in our eyes
I like the reference of FIRE in this song.
However when I was driving in my car and thinking about this writing series on the 4 elements I did think how scripture sees FIRE in both a positive and negative light.
Hebrews 12: 29: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Acts 2:3 “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them”
The Hebrews passage reminds us to be in AWE and see the POWER of God. In Acts we see the Spirit of God touching the disciples as “tongues of fire.” That FIRE bringing power and starting a radical mission led and lived out by Jesus disciples.
So in these 2 instances we see FIRE in a positive light.
Matthew 18: 9 “And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
James 3:5 “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
From Matthew and other gospels we see hell being depicted as a place with lots of FIRE. Sounds destructive, doesn’t it? Then James teaches us how our tongues are like FIRE. We can say the most hurtful things. So here we see FIRE in a negative light.
And then looking at the last book we see:
Revelation 20:14 “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.”
Revelation 19: 12 “His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.”
Hell has a lake of fire. Then we see the Heavenly Warrior who defeats the beast; His eyes are like a blazing fire.
It gets me thinking, God cannot be described altogether. The word FIRE shares a mere part of His character. God is so much bigger than our language. He cannot be confined to our understanding.
However He is not aloof? He makes Himself known. God in His mercy shows Himself to us daily. If only we would see more often.
Fire has done great things. FIRE has been used to make crucial things. And yet on the flip side, FIRE has broken down things and killed people and nature.
And I guess this concept of FIRE leaves us with a choice.
Will we use it to improve God’s world? Will we use it to increase our worship of God?
As I sat by that fire (see picture), I am reminded:
Because of this FIRE I can cook my food, I can keep warm and I can tell stories.
What story do you tell?
One spark can destroy a forest
One word can destruct a soul
Our God, a consuming fire
The brokenness and danger
And warm us
And call us
With a passionate fire