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Monday, 23 January 2017


A log fell out of the fire last week, fusing the fibres of the rug and singeing the underlay. Had Don not been sitting there at the time, he might have been dealing with an inferno.

We love our open fire. It’s cheerful and alive, flaring and blazing and then settling into hot embers. It makes the room cosy not just because of the heat given off but also by the sense of companionship a living fire gives. It’s kind of a quiet, comforting friend.

But an open fire has obvious risk factors, and requires vigilance and care. On balance, we’re happy to manage the risks with smoke alarms and a fire guard and a regular chimney sweep.

People can be on fire for God. One might argue that a person filled with the Holy Spirit will be on fire for God – whether that fire is blazing or has settled into the warmth of glowing embers. That inner fire should draw those who are still ‘out in the cold’ to come near and warm themselves in God’s presence as expressed through a believer’s life. In God is found mercy and grace and forgiveness for all.

Jesus came for all, and he lived his life riskily. Many were drawn to his warmth; when they experienced his love, they were willing to abandon home and job and join him on the road. Others, though, were scorched by the truth he taught and lived. Full of pride or self-righteousness, convinced of the correctness of their own understanding, they criticised and judged others and eventually hung the prince of peace on a cross.

The world is a cold place just now, where at least one leader has rejected compassion for the vulnerable in preference for protection of his own kind. This is the time for the rest of us to fan our faith into flame, to stick close to the source and move through the world with compassion and love, exuding hope in our faithful and loving Father.

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