A father and son were enjoying a nice fire while out camping on a warm summer’s night. When it was time for bed the father called the son over and showed him how to separate the burning wood so the pieces were isolated from one another. The fire quickly died down and only glowing embers were left smoldering. In the morning the father showed the son that all but three embers had died during the night. The three that remain were also almost out but had just a bit of life left in them.
The father gathered all of the dead embers together in a pile and placed the three lit ones on top. On those he placed a handful of dry twigs. The father began to blow on the embers which turned red and got hotter with each breath. On the second breath wisps of white smoke began to rise. On the third breath the pile burst into flames and the morning fire was started.
Two-thousand years ago there were eleven embers huddled together in the upper room. They were barely lit as they feared for their lives. The Lord gathered them together and breathed the Holy Breath (From the Greek work pneuma meaning wind, breath, or spirit) upon them and they burst into flames with the fire of desire to serve God. This is the way church works. Those with faith come together to form an everlasting fire of love for God. As a church we burn brightly.
But like the father in the story the devil tries to extinguish that fire by separating the individual embers. The individual embers can burn for a while but none can burn as brightly or give as much warmth as what they do together. Eventually individual embers will fade away and die out. This is what the devil wants to do – extinguish the fire of God’s love burning in each one of us. This is why it is so important that we assemble together in our churches. God will send the Holy Breath upon us to feed the growing fire in each of us so we can properly radiate his love and light.
For those who believe that they do not need a church, that they can be spiritual anywhere, that it is just them and Jesus – they are smoldering embers that will eventually die out. We need to show them the importance of being part of God’s bonfire (bon is French for good). We are so much more when they are with us. Throw another log on the fire. Bring a smoldering ember to church with you.