Fire, Love and God
Kevin Drabinski, editor of our local diocesan newspaper, The Observer, has a wonderful reflection on fire, love and God in this month’s edition.
Drabinski begins by looking at the themes of fire, judgement, and the end of history in the liturgical readings for the end of November, and reflecting on the destructive power of wild, uncontrolled fire as we have recently seen it in southern California. The Church year is coming to a close and the readings shift to thoughts of endings. (The last Sunday of this liturgical year will be November 25, the celebration of the Feast of Christ the King.)
Drabinski then writes of the blessings of fire in its controlled state. Fire in this context is warming, comforting, light giving. He says, “One candle, quietly burning, spells hope and warmth. Many a candle, held by the hands of a crowd, is faith itself. And like faith, a candle’s light is never diminished by its being shared.”
Fire is also an expression of love – human or divine. Images are presented of the use of controlled fire in lanterns, processions, and worship. The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was accompanied by “tongues as of fire … [which] came to rest on each of them.” (Acts 2:3) The fire of God’s love, however, cannot be managed or controlled by humans. The author of the Song of Songs describes love, both human and divine, as “flashes of fire” and “a very flame of the Lord,” noting, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.”
This article is worth taking a few moments to read and ponder as we approach the end of another year. When fire and judgement and the end of history are seen through the lens of the Love of God, we can all have hope.