The spirituality to be found at a fireside…

This is a photograph taken on our recent retreat. I think the glow above the fire is an internal lens/filter reflection. Cheap filters are a problem I am told! But it looks like something has been created from our gathering- or perhaps the old truth that where we gather in his name, he is in the midst of us…

Gathering around a fire must be stamped somewhere in the middle of what it means to be human. After all, it must be just about our oldest form of social gathering.

There is a story about a micro technology project that visited a village in Africa, offering to install a solar powered lighting system. “Why do we need this?” asked the village elders. “What benefits would this bring to our people?” “Well,” replied the aid workers, “you will be able to work later in the evening, your children will be able to study and use computers and your wives will be able to prepare food more easily.” The elders considered for a while, then politely declined the offer of the electricity system. When asked why, they replied “There are enough hours in the day for work. In the evening, we gather round a fire and tell the stories that make us who we are.”

On our recent retreat, we gathered round a fire. It was tricky- there were no trees on the island and a fast tide race sweeping the shores clean, so we had to gather wood from nooks and crannies all over the rocky shores. We told stories of hopes and dreams, and prayed using incense that we scattered on the fire (to symbolise the fragrance of Jesus) and iron filings that sparked us into awareness of the power of the Spirit.

My your fireside be equally warm and welcoming, and may great stories be told…

First fires of autumn…

Michaela is doing a course in Perth (spirituality and bereavement) and so has been away overnight.

It has been a lovely day- the sun has been shining, but squalls come down the Clyde from time to time and the sky goes dark black.

There is a bite in the wind and the cold air carries less moisture, making each breath taste like crisp white linen.

But I miss Michaela, and tonight, I light the first fire of autumn to welcome her home.

And we will sit close

By the fire.