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“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?” – CS Lewis
HOW TO LIGHT A CAMPFIRE
Clear the area of debris, avoid overhanging branches and make sure your fire is a safe distance from tents and other flammable materials.
The Right Material
The three types of natural fuel are tinder (material that burns easily such as dry grass or shavings whittled from a stick), kindling (slightly larger material such as twigs that will burn with a little encouragement) and firewood (dry branches that will be the main fuel of the fire). No shortcuts allowed—never use flammable liquids.
The Right Shape
Two ways to build your fire are the tepee, in which you arrange the kindling in the shape of a tepee over the tinder, and the lean-to, in which you push a small stick in the ground at a 45-degree angle with the upper end pointing into the wind. Place the tinder beneath the stick and lean the kindling against it. Light the tinder and add kindling as needed. Add the larger branched last. Never leave a fire unattended.
Put It Out!
Pour water on the fire, stir the ashes with a stick, and pour some more. It’s not out until you can run your bare hands through the coals.
One of our favorite stories of the Celtic saint revolves around him lighting a massive bonfire on the Hill of Slane in County Meath, as part of keeping his Easter vigil in celebration of Christ. His fire rose in direct defiance of the High King of Tara, and the ancient rulers of Ireland, who had chosen the night for their own festival, prohibiting the lighting of rival fires throughout the country. Only two sources of light broke the night: one in honor of the High King of Tara and the other in the honor of the “High King of Heaven.” Conflict inevitably arose and despite the best efforts of the druidic priests, St. Patrick’s fire, miraculously, could not be extinguished. The High King surrendered to Christ and the druidic priests are said to have prophesied,
“This fire, which has been lighted in defiance of the royal edict, will blaze for ever in this land unless it be this very night extinguished.” – St. Patrick
We praise God that the fire blazes on in Ireland! Isn’t this an amazing picture of how a celebrating, counter-cultural community can transform nations?
When Jesus speaks of the “city on a hill” that can’t be hidden in the Sermon on the Mount, He’s not talking about a glaring, neon, festival of fluorescence like Las Vegas. There is no electricity in the New Testament: He’s imagining a skyline illuminated by hundreds of simple campfires, each surrounded by their own conversations and celebrations, hopes, dreams, hurts, and healings.
Our simple campfire gatherings can be powerfully missional.
People are drawn to the light, heat and safety of Jesus and His church. Our best efforts of evangelism are our best efforts in the area of loving one another – see John 13:35. It is so much more attractive than any sermon ever could be. Our love is luminous in the darkness of a Darwinian, “survival of the fittest” world. But it doesn’t stop with loving our family in Christ: we have to be recklessly indiscriminate in spreading that love to the rest of humanity, after the pattern of our extravagantly gracious Father.
There are no outsiders in the Kingdom of God. All are invited into this mystery of God’s love. Don’t even waste your time sorting people into such categories as “in” or “out.” Rather, spend your time learning how to love better! Your fireside gatherings need to be as welcoming as the Father of the prodigal son. Surrender your social life to the service of those with whom others won’t socialize.
Be like Jesus and be held in the suspicion of the religious because you are the “friend[s] of sinners”, all the while maintaining a purity of heart that outshines the most zealous Pharisee.
There is no point developing a cozy sense of family and community in Jesus’ name if we are to ignore his great commission to invite the lost into the kingdom!
There is no point in inviting the lost into a so-called Christian community of backbiting, malice, ego and selfish agendas!
Let us love with a white-hot intensity, both within our gatherings, and when reaching out of them.