Well, I don’t know about you, but whenever I read about fire and burning in the Bible, I get a little excited, or at least pay closer attention. Things are about to get very interesting.
I like fire and always have enjoyed watching a fire and how the flames dance and interact with one another. There is a peace and a calm with watching a fire. Fire is also necessary for life. As devastating as a forest fire can be, there are many seeds that rely on fire to begin germination. Fire provides heat, comfort and means to cook and prepare food for our enjoyment and nourishment.
While there are these and many other benefits to fire, fire is dangerous and wild too at the same time. Fire has the potential to burn deeply with scars that never heal, destroy buildings, vegetation and can end life. So, it is not surprising that on the other hand, fire in the Bible can lead us to believe that what is cast into the fire of no use and will be destroyed. Or even worse, that which is cast into the fire is in some way evil or bad. There is, I believe another interpretation to fire.
For me, whenever I read about fire in the Bible, I cannot help but think about Pentecost. With Pentecost Sunday and the season of Pentecost which follows we are reminded of how Pentecost is a process of birth and renewal. As the church celebrates Pentecost in our liturgical season, we are reminded that change is in the air, and the Holy Spirit is working in and through each one of us to bring about the change we need in our community and world.