Preparing the Fire

Pentecost Sunday Meditation

Scripture  |  Acts 2:1-21  |  Romans 12:9-18

In High School, our youth group used to go on regular campouts. Which I only bring up here today on Pentecost because one of our youth advisors was a marine and an incredible survivalist… and watching him make a fire was like watching a painter create a masterpiece.

Once we even had the privilege of watching him create a fire with no lighter or matches… just a whole lot of work, friction, and sticks. 

He said to us, as he showed us how to use two pieces of wood to start a fire with the appropriate speed and angle “all it takes is a spark to get the fire going”

Of course, it didn’t take long for him to get that spark, he had had a lot of experience and practice and before long that spark turned into a full-fledged bonfire that lasted through the night. 

But as impressive as that all was… the thing that completely astounded us, was when we woke up the next day. 

When our youth advisor walked over to the fire pit, crouched down over an ash pile that had burned out long ago. And he began to dig into the ash and blow.
Of course “What are you doing?” was our first question… 

He said “The fires not dead yet, with a little work, we can get these embers to spark and before you know it the fire will be back to full force.” 

And for the next 10 minutes we watched with mouths wide open as he artfully dug around the ashes, strategically laying down new sticks in some places, preparing the fire, and creating the perfect environment for the fire to take flame.
Then, blowing into the embers…
out of the ash… Spark. and then flame.

“A spark” is exactly what the disciples were hoping for as they gathered on that Pentecost day. 

It was 10 days after Jesus left them and ascended to heaven, 10 days being on their own again… without a clear leader or direction…

After 10 days I’m sure several of them had already started to feel their fire slowly burning out and on the brink of extinguishing.

After 10 days I’m sure they found themselves unsure of what to do next, unsure of the best plan of action to share the story of Christ’s resurrection.

Of course over those 10 days all was not loss. They had also continued to come together, they continued meeting and worshipping, they continued living out their faith and trying to follow Christ…

And what I think they weren’t aware of, is that in living this way, they were creating the perfect environment for the Spirit to blow, and for those sparks to ignite. 

They may have felt their flames flickering, but they were continuing to live out their faith, and practice what Paul was writing about in Romans, practicing a faith that helps the Spirit to spark and flourish.

Loving each other like family,
Considering everyone as equal
Associating with people who have no status.
Blessing people who harass you
Being happy with those who are happy, and crying with those who are crying.
Contributing to the needs of God’s people, 
Welcoming strangers into your home. 
Being enthusiastic as your serve the Lord

In the Christian faith, living this way is how we prepare for the fire of the Spirit to burn. 

Living this way is like arranging arranging the sticks of our Spiritual fire just right, in order to provide the best environment for the Spirit breath in us and ignite our faith.  

Whether you’re just stepping into a church for the first time today to hear some great bluegrass.
Whether you’ve just been baptized or confirmed today.
Whether you feel like your spiritual flame has been burning awhile and is about to go out.
We can all take steps to give the Spirit the best environment to spark and take flame.

And when we are sparked, and enthusiastic. When the Spirit is burning within us, that fire can’t help but spread. That fire takes over your neighborhood and your community and makes a really difference.

So however you came here today, whatever story you came from to join us here in this moment. We hope that you leave here a little changed. A little more loving and welcoming, a little more enthusiastic. A little more sparked. Because that is what happens in a church family. The fire is prepared… the spirit blows in, and our lives spark.

May we all find the right environment for the Spirit to blow, and for the energy and fire to take hold in your life. 
May we all do the work to arrange our lives around Christ’s love, hope, and new life. 
May we find the right environment for lives to be changed, for Christ’s resurrection to be heard, and lived out and spread.
And May the Spirit always move here and so hearts will always be set on fire.

Amen.