From Malibu to the border of Mexico, California remains ablaze with fires of virtually unprecedented destructiveness, while in the Church we're anticipating Reformation Sunday (and then Reformation Day on the following Wednesday), a major festival that celebrates the Divine Spirit Who frequently Self-reveals in fire and in wind, bringing the world gifts of transformation, reconciliation and resurrection. On Rev Gal Blog Pals most recent Music for Sunday video - "A Mighty Fortress" – I commented on Reformation as a Feast of the Holy Spirit parallel to Pentecost.
In my Pentecost bulletin text I wrote:
From the desert of the Exodus through Isaiah's vision in the temple, to Malachi and to John the Baptizer's promise of One who will baptize not only with water, but with Spirit and with Fire, a strand of purifying, redemptive heat weaves through the witness of scripture. Like the apostles of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago, we live baptized into the cross of Calvary, into the empty grave of Easter dawn, and into the freedom and fire of Pentecost.
Here in the countywide fire zone we're indeed experiencing not only major Wind and Fire Events, but a major event of the Spirit of Life's outpouring as private and corporate citizens have kept responding to requests for $$$ and in-kind contributions to an extent almost unprecedented even here, while fire and other personnel from other cities and counties, from Arizona, Montana and Oregon, from across the international border in Tijuana and Canada have been assisting this county. Wild fires are natural and necessary events that do much necessary and essential good, though maybe as many residential and commercial structures as we now have around the county never were part of an original intent. ire is another topic I've written and spoken a lot about, and I began my Pentecost bulletin text with, "In the Bible and in Christian tradition, there is no narrative or legend about the creation of fire, but there are abundant experiences of visible evidence of the Divine Presence in some form of fire." This week in Paradise we're experiencing abundant, tangible, visible, audible evidence of the Presence of the Divine in response to fires almost as wild and unpredictable as the sovereignty of the gracious One Who pleases freely to self-reveal in fire, in wind, in humanity, and throughout creation. Wherever flames of fire touch the stuff of creation, in the freedom and fire of the Spirit of Pentecost we soon discover a new world born from the ashes of the old, whether that newness is restored creation or revitalized community.