Unless We Catch Fire*
Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.
– William Blake (1757–1827) from Pentecost
In his poem Pentecost, William Blake’s repetition of the word, “unless” might be received by the reader as a guilt-inducing commission. Unless his repetition of the word “catch” is given equal time, we might tend to turn our soggy pockets inside out and offer up a defeated shrug in lieu of prayer. But we cannot set ourselves on fire any more than Simon the sorcerer could buy rights to the Holy Spirit.
So how do we catch fire? We catch a cold because our resistance is down, and in a similar way, this is how we catch fire. In a similar way, we must look for the resistance we have against the Holy Spirit. You can ask yourself, “In what ways have I saturated my eyes, ears, tongue, heart and mind, leaving no room for the Holy Spirit to run free? By works? Addictions? Busy-ness? Or maybe I’ve just resigned myself to a dark, dank climate of the soul?”
Pentecost is about change, passion, and not doing the usual and customary. It is about moving away from the “normal” and “ordinary” and into the extraordinary. It is about having the courage to let God reshape one’s inner topography. Unless we catch fire, we do not change.
During this season of Pentecost, we should all give the Holy Spirit some running room and set the fire free in our souls and feel the true essence of God deep down in our bones.
*Adapted from a reflection by Patricia Conneen.
Sunday Services begin at 10:00 AM. Worship is casual, comfortable, and fun! Simply come as you are. Bring a friend. We’ll be looking for you!
- Sermon: “Falling Sparrows and Facial Recognition”
- Scripture: Matthew 10:24–39
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What does “Open and Affirming” (ONA) mean?
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- It is for congregations, campus ministries, and other UCC bodies.
- Everyone is welcomed into full life and ministry.