Who does not enjoy a really good, old fashioned bonfire? Not too many people that is for sure, no one that I know. Fire holds a fascination with man that goes way back. The first offering to the Lord ever mentioned in the Bible happens right after the fall in the garden. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden for sinning against God. Their
two sons Cain and Abel are the first-ever mentioned to bring their first fruits unto God.
Cain offered crops from the ground. Abel offered firstborn lambs. Although the word “fire” is not mentioned, most offerings to the Lord are burnt offerings. God preferred Abel’s offering. Cain in a jealous rage killed his brother Abel. The Bible is full of interesting stories. For early man fire offered light and heat in the dark. The fire kept the wild animals at a safe distance. All beasts with the exception of man have a deep fear of fire.
The use of fire enabled man to forge metals, and on it goes.
Our neighborhood bonfire was a time to gather together. Friends who have known each other for years reconnected with a good chat. New people got to meet some of their neighbors. Children and dogs scampered all about the grounds. Everyone brought some delicious food to snack on, and coffee was served. At around 9:00 p.m. we set fire to a huge pile of wood. Most of the wood comes in the form of driftwood when the ice on Trout River breaks up in the springtime. It is surprising how much wood from broken up trees flows onto the shore with the ice.
I am sure that people two counties away observed an orange glow in the sky. The flames were as high as the surrounding trees. Some people from our church also showed up to enjoy the bonfire. This is a good thing. Secular people mixed with believers get to witness that Christians are just like everyone else. We enjoy the same things and perhaps, just perhaps, they saw something in us that they would like to have for themselves also.
This is one of the reasons why our church hosts a community Christmas meal every year. So people can rub elbows with people of faith. It is important for Christians to know that we are in this world, but not of this world. Brow beating people with religion does not work. However, if people see something in us that they rarely see elsewhere, then they just might be attracted to check us out. A community bonfire is a good vehicle to get people together, and hey, it is loads of fun, so easy to do.
By David Jowle