Friday, February 9, 2018

"The kindling of the heav'n-descended Dove."


Hymn: “Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart” – George Crowly (1780-1860)
Tune: MORECAMBE

I admit that I sang this hymn for years before I noticed what the last lines actually say… mean. Even though I grew up in a culture that knows all about kindling, I thought in this case it was some archaic rendering of the word “kind” – as in “Be ye kind one unto another.”

“The kindling of the heav’n-descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and thy love the flame.”

As we sing this, we are offering ourselves as kindling… a fire starter… for the Spirit of God when it falls on us from heaven. It’s as if on our hearts we stack up the small strips of wood or dried twigs so that when the purifying flames descend, we are ready to get this fire going! I’m reminded of Gene Bartlett’s more-recently-written hymn “Set My Soul Afire.”

Stephen King’s novel FIRESTARTER was made into a 1984 movie starring Drew Barrymore as a young girl whose gift of pyrokinesis is appropriated by the government. It’s a typical Stephen King thriller involving the paranormal. The sequel on the Sci-fi network was called… get this: FIRESTARTER: REKINDLED!

In reality, we who believe the power of the Spirit is of amazing proportions, able to achieve so much in our lives as individuals and corporately within the church, should be kindling our hearts so that we – yes, even WE might be the ones who get the fire going among our fellows: the fire starters!

What if those posters of Smokey the Bear were lining the halls of our churches, pointing at us like a furry Uncle Sam, saying, “Only YOU can prevent the spread of the fire.” That’s one fire I don’t want to put out – one movement I don’t want to impede.

If I miss out on being a fire starter, I hope I will at least be a flame fanner… and not a water tosser!


Hear Three Stanzas of This Hymn

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Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)

Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)