Pentecost May 24, 2015
Playing with Fire
If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.
In the fall of 1983, my Boy Scout troop had a special three-day campout. Dubbed “The War Game,” it was a cross between capture the flag and wilderness survival exercises. Each of our six patrols had to find a defensible camp in the woods, set up shelters from whatever we could find, and build a bridge to defend from one another. Lose the bridge, and you lost the game.
The first two days were a young boy’s dream of mock battle intrigues—“sword fights” with sticks, reconnaissance patrols, night watches, and grand battles. By Sunday morning, there were only three patrols left in the game. And then came the forest fire that threatened to burn us all.
Our patrol was closest to the troop’s base camp, so we were the first to hear the emergency whistles–and first to figure out the trouble. But we were also the only ones who knew where the other two patrols were. So, instead of returning to camp, we decided to skirt along the fire’s edge, to warn the others and help them evacuate. “The War Game” was over.
On this day of Pentecost, we pray that the Holy Spirit will enter our lives like wind and fire. Make no mistake—when that happens, you will get burned. Your old ways of thinking will be burned away—your fears, your prejudices, your personal priorities and limitations.
In fact, to judge by our August 13th experience at Herrnhut, your entire perspective on this world will melt away in the fire of the Holy Spirit. And those things that seem so important to you now—so needful of your time and energy—will look as silly as boys playing at soldiers in the woods.
Let us play with fire. Let us pray for the Spirit.
Lance Fox, pastor, Morning Star Moravian Church, Coopersburg, Pennsylvania