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God’s Furnace

Your command erupts from the fire

like molten steel surging from a foundry furnace:

 

“Step into the flames.

I will set your heart on fire.”

 

As I take the first step, the inferno begins

to dissolve the armor around my heart

 

like lead transforming into gold

in the alchemist’s furnace.

 

A poem from David Weiss’s new book, A Heart on Fire: Poems from the Flames

Reflections on this poem:

What is God asking of you?

Are you taking the first step?

What’s happening as you do, or don’t?

 

Fire

what makes a fire burn

is space between the logs,

a breathing space.

Too much of a good thing,

too many logs

packed in too tight

can douse the flames

almost as surely

as a pail of water would.

 

So building fires

require attention

to the spaces in between,

as much as to the wood.

 

When we are able to build

open spaces

in the same way

we have learned

to piles on logs,

then we can come to see how

it is fuel, and the absence of the fuel

together, that makes fire possible.

 

We only need to lay a log

lightly from time to time.

A fire

grows

simply because the space it there,

with openings

in which the flame

that knows just how it wants to burn

can find its way.

 

Judy Brown, on the Inward/Outward blog of Church

of the Savior, Washington DC

 

Reflections on this poem:

Do you have space between things in your life?
How are you packed too tight?

How do you allow for things to grow themselves?

How do you allow for God in building your inner fire?

Psalm 21 (excerpts)

Forever I will put my trust in You;

and as I abandon myself to you in love,

I am assured of peace.

You root out my fears; standing

firm beside me as I face

the shadows within.

Like a blazing sun your light shines.

My fears flee from your sight;

your fire consumes them.

Generations to come will sing

to your glory

In gratitude and joy for your

saving power.

For You put fears to flight,

that love and justice might reign.

All praise be yours, O Wondrous One!

Forever will I sing and  honor

your saving grace.

Translation by Nan Merrill

Reflections on this Psalm:

How have you abandoned yourself to God?

What shadows has God helped you to face?

How has God consumed your fears?

What are you most grateful for?

A wise old mystic said that God puts within each of us a spark of the Divine. “The real question though,” the old man said, “is, how close are you willing to come to the fire?”

It is a question I have asked myself for several years. In fact about ten years ago a friend of mine, Debra, who does exquisite beading, made me a necklace depicting the two phases of my life, the busy achieving part, and the slower more reflective part that had more recently emerged. In the middle of the necklace she put in the words “How close fire?” meaning that the answer to that question was what had shifted me to this more reflective part of my life. I share the necklace with you in two photos, one of the whole necklace and one in which you may be able to see two of the words, “how close,” if you look closely at the black beads on the right side.

2014-03-15_15-35-26_4042014-03-15_15-34-32_376Reflections on this necklace:

How close are you willing to come to the fire?

Consume Me

 

My God, consume me in your flame

Let our fire bring warmth and light

Have mercy on me as we embrace

Fill me with your love

 

Let our fire bring warmth and light

My one desire is to dance with flame

Fill me with your love

We two becoming one

 

My one desire is to dance with flame

Have mercy on me as we embrace

We two becoming one

My God, consume me with your flame

 

Janet Hagberg, 2013.

Reflections on this poem

What is your reaction to this poem?

What does it mean to dance with flame?

Where in your life if God coming close?

 

 

IF YOU ARE WHAT YOU SHOULD BE,

YOU WILL SET THE WORLD ABLAZE

 

CATHERINE OF SIENNA

Reflections on this quote

What do you think you are called to be?

How close are you to accepting it and living into it?

What does it mean to you to set the world ablaze?

Are you doing that? How?

For God is not an indifferent bystander.

He’s actively cleaning house,

torching all that needs to burn,

and he won’t quit until

it’s all cleansed.

God himself is fire!

Hebrews 12:29 The Message

 

Reflections on this verse

How is God cleaning your inner house?

What needs torching?

How does it feel when your house is cleansed?

How do you describe the warmth of God’s fire?

“Set your

life

on fire

and seek

only those

who fan

your flames.”

Rumi

Reflections on this quote:

What does setting your life on fire mean to you right now?

What would have to change in order for you to do this?

Who would you choose to fan these flames?

What feeling emerge for you as you read this quote?

Where is God in this process for you?

Dorothy Dances

This is no child that dances. This is flame.
Here fire at last has found its natural frame.

What else is that which burns and flies
From those enkindled eyes…
What is that inner blaze
Which plays
About that lighted face…
This thing is fire set free —
Fire possesses her, or rather she
Controls its mastery.
With every gesture, every rhythmic stride,
Beat after beat,
It follows, purring at her side,
Or licks the shadows of her flashing feet.
Around her everywhere
It coils its thread of yellow hair;
Through every vein its bright blood creeps,
And its red hands
Caress her as she stands
Or lift her boldly when she leaps.
Then, as the surge of radiance grows stronger
These two are two no longer
And they merge
Into a disembodied ecstasy;
Free
To express some half-forgotten hunger,
Some half-forbidden urge.

What mystery

Has been at work until it blent
One child and that fierce element?
Give it no name.
It is enough that flesh has danced with flame.

Louis Untermeyer

 

Reflections on this poem

When have you felt an deep inner longing for a creative activity?

What sets your soul ablaze?

How have you felt embraced by something or someone beyond you?

How are you “dancing” with the Holy flame?

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