The Fireplace

Thursday, March 31, 2005

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 – For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (ESV)

We have a fireplace in our new home that has no chimney. It was put there as a focal point for the room. Other than that, it serves no good purpose.

I love a good fire. I find the heat therapeutic, with my fingers up close and warmed by its embrace. I guess it goes back to my childhood, when my mother and I used to toast slices of bread and buns, leaning into the intimate heat of the hearth. When I was very small, I was truly blessed. However, I was also daft — but that is a tale for another day.

Fire is vibrant, corrosive, destructive, all-consuming, active, and cleansing.

As I sat by the cold, black, empty fireplace, it became an offence to my warm memories of years long past.

I resolved what I should do, and searched the local stores to find what was needed. Eventually I found some coloured glass chunks. I have now made a fire that glows deep red, orange, and yellow. The attention to detail is such that visitors on first viewing are afraid to put their hand near it in case they are burnt! Of course, this is not possible with the eleven-watt bulb. However, it is pleasing to the eye and does make the whole room feel warmer and more of a home. The old toasting fork from my infancy now resides beside the fire on the hearth.

After finishing the task, I knew deep inside that there was something to say, but I was unable to comprehend it. I have been too stressed, too busy with work and home to be still enough to hear.

Now I have perceived the conundrum.

Imitation is no substitute for the real. It lacks the recognition and respect that are due to the experience of true power.

Isaiah 66:15-16 – For behold, the Lord will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire will the Lord enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the Lord shall be many. (ESV)

Prayer: Lord, You are the real deal, with the power to consume or to save us. We ask that You deliver us today from cold imitations that deny Your all-pervading warmth and authority over us. Open our eyes to see the truth, and keep us on the right track, that we may walk in Your ways and not be consumed by Your holy fire. Amen.

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Rod Marshall <>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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