Symbolism of Fire

Fire is an emblem of divinity, political, and social unity.

For millions of years our ancestors kept warm with fire.

It protected them from being attacked by wild animals,

Served as a meeting place for tribal communities,

Where religious rites like chanting, and telling stories were performed.

Most importantly, after a hunt hunters cooked their meals with fire.

Ancient traditions glorify fire.

In the Hindu tradition the goddess Shiva –

Destroyer, transformer, maintainer, and preserver is depicted as dancing in a circle of fire.

The Book of Exodus described Moses’s encounter with a burning bush.

Classical Greek mythology showed how Promethus –

The champion of mankind stole fire from the gods to give to humans.

And Acts of the Apostles reminded Christian believers

How the Holy Spirit appeared to the disciples as flames of fire.

In ancient Persia and Rome fire played a prominent role.

The Zoroastrian religion made use of fire, and clean water to represent ritual purity,

While priests tended the eternal fires on fire-altars.

In the Roman religion Vestal was the Roman goddess of the hearth,

Who was the protectorate, and were served by chaste Vestal Virgins.

Today, Paris burns a flame of national significance.

It’s known as The Eternal Flame at the Arc de Triomphe.

John F. Kennedy’s Eternal Flame symbolizes eternal life,

While the flame at the War Memorial

Shows Americans’ profound gratitude towards the remembrance

Of our dead service men and women.

“God, help us to understand more fully the symbolism of fire.  Let us be always cognizant of the good things it signifies.”



Peacemaking is more than winning wars.

A peacemaker isn’t a nation’s warrior.

He or she should strive without conflicts.

This person should love their country,

And has its interests at heart.

Peace often calls for patience.

It’s an ability to negotiate sensibly.

A peacemaker has to be able to compromise.

This should be the goal of every ambassador.

Building bridges to people and nations

Should be a silver lining that a negotiator should pursue.

This is what rulers try to accomplish.

But few of them will succeed if this isn’t done wisely.

An ambassador will do anything to seek a lasting peace.

Christian leaders will remember the admonition –

“Blessed are the peacemakers.”

They view their subjects as children of God.

Such rulers will be judges among nations.

And they are the arbitrators of warring states.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares,

And used their spears as pruning hooks.

People shall learn war no more.

And their neighbors will live in peace.

“God, help warring nations seek peace and understanding.  Guide their rulers as they negotiate so that they will have a lasting peace.”


The Serenity Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr was author of this prayer.

Since its inception in 1943,

The prayer has had an interesting history.

It was hijacked in Germany,

The country where Niebuhr’s parents were born

Before settling in the United States.

Niebuhr’s life was as a preacher, writer, professor,

And ambassador to European countries

Especially Germany and England.

He met with the World Council of Churches,

And shared his thoughts on ecumenical ventures

Of various denominations – Episcopalian, Methodist,

Congregationalist, Reformed, and Evangelical Lutherans.

For 40 years Niebuhr has been prolific.

At the Union Theological Seminary in New York

He ruffled feathers with his opposition to American neutrality

During World War Ⅱ, beliefs in racial equality,

And outreach to the poor in the ghettos.

Niebuhr served as a guest on panels, and was welcomed internationally.

On the lecture circuit he was known for his correspondence

With Church leaders, and lived to see Europe liberated.

The serenity prayer captured life’s vicissitudes.

He did an amazing job in responding to the challenges of his era.

“Loving God, you have blessed mankind with the loving spirit of Reinhold Niebuhr.  Grant that his legacy will live on as people utter the serenity prayer known worldwide through the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, and its many renditions on postcards, placemats, and souvenirs.”


God in Nature

The 17th century Jewish philosopher

Of Dutch origin, Baruch Spinoza viewed religion

In Theological-Political Treatise as superstitious

He considered nature and God ubiquitous

Nature encompasses everything Spinoza considered Providence.

Every aspect of its essence is reflected in good and bad experiences.

Miracles described in the monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity,

And Islam could be explained through the varieties of ever-changing nature

These are natural occurrences that surprise people when they occur.

The first rainbow that humans saw must have struck them as a miracle.

But science later showed this resulted from scientific evidence.

Prophecy could be viewed as another of these phenomena.

In ancient times people were uneducated and had vivid imaginations.

Many of their delusions were motivated by vivid dreams and visions.

In modern society these ancients would be seen as having psychotic episodes.

But these visionaries appear to the Israelites to be filled with gifts of a Creator.

Therefore, God was perceived as being human and personalized.

Nature is all good and bad things that exist in the vast Universe.

It’s therefore more realistic to think about the Divine as nature.

God in nature is material and immaterial.

God doesn’t have human characteristics that are alluded to in sacred texts.

This spiritual essence is universal and governs all things.

So, putting a human face on God of nature is an error.

The Golden Rule

Every religion has a golden rule.

Treat others as you want to be treated.

How marvelous are those words!

They show the depths of love and compassion.

So, what should you do if your neighbor offends you?

Some may say like the bible verse “an eye for an eye.”

But this will only make the whole world blind.

Instead, it’s better to practice forgiveness.

But suppose the hurt is quite great.

What should you do to soothe this pain?

It’s better to pray and be in the right frame of mind.

Talk your situation through with a loved one that you trust.

If that doesn’t work, seek the help of a trusted counselor.

Suffering a painful hurt could be devastating.

So, it’s better to know that two wrongs don’t make right.

Why rub salt in a wound that’s already deep?

Instead, endeavor to ease the pain and find peace.

Always remember to look for a ray of sunshine.

This is better than the disastrous consequences.

So, let’s live by the golden rule.