My dad was trained as a mechanical engineer and made his living as a home builder and remodeler. His education and experience translated into his ability to build a masterpiece of tightly crumpled paper, soaked in lighter fluid under small thirsty kindling sticks, beneath alternating large dry logs strategically stacked. Seemingly dead matter would arise with awesome power, and in the precise place designed for fire. I remember being captivated by the anticipation of immanent danger, but a tamed danger—danger and safety juxtaposed. It was the place made for fire—the fireplace.
One spark, and into reality burst the hope of warmth and comfort, and my skin and soul simultaneously felt from “good fire” the happiness one feels with a surprise visit from a faithful friend! The soon dancing, roaring blaze of white hot orange, yellow hues atop red embers, and the crackling, hissing, popping sounds sealed into my heart’s memory a feeling of family togetherness, of stillness, and there, I knew and felt my father’s care. He had created something of ambiance for our family to enjoy. It was my father’s heart and skill and attention and gift. It was one of my fondest childhood memories of him and of his positive influence. It was intentional, purposeful, dangerous, and yet safe and comforting. The fiery gift glowed with warmth and light and spread love to others.
There is within me, a fireplace. It cannot ignite itself.
Now, heavenly Father, I pray, so ignite my heart, our hearts, with the love of God for the needs of the hurting world satisfied only in you and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Christ our Lord!