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Viewpoint from Colleen Palmer 31/10/2014 

Dove rightColleen Palmer
Methodist Local Preacher

Autumn days bring to mind bonfires burning up leaves and pruned debris; the growth of summer giving way to bleaker landscapes.  I find bonfires fascinating – trying to keep the fire alight but not letting it get out of hand. Fire needs to be controlled; if it is out of control destruction takes place. Forest fires in drought ridden areas tell their own story. Yet how important for primitive man to discover this powerful resource.  No wonder it has an affinity with God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit
The column of fire to lead God’s chosen people through the wilderness during dark hours when they were travelling to the Promised Land
In New Testament times, we read of the two companions on the road to Emmaus on the first day of Resurrection. They met with Christ and their hearts were on fire as he talked with them
Many centuries later John Wesley at his conversion on 24th May 1738 felt the warming of his heart as he truly believed Christ to be his Saviour through grace alone. Cared for fire brings warmth and light
dove leftMany hymn writers have used the idea to emphasize their thoughts. John’s brother, Charles Wesley, wrote passionately so many hymns, not least:
“O Thou who camest from above
The pure celestial fire to impart
Kindle a flame of sacred love
On the mean altar of my heart”
William Booth took up this idea also as he wrote
“O God of burning cleansing flame
Send the fire”
Reminding us of the flames like tongues of fire at Pentecost
So, as I reflect on the warm glow of the bonfire in autumn, I think too of the comfort of fire heating the house in winter. I think of the steady flame that brings peace when we light a candle in memory of a loved one at a memorial service. Let us be thankful for physical and spiritual fires which bring comfort and peace