” . . . face was shining . . . ”

“When Moses went down from Mount Sinai carrying the Ten Commandments, his face was shining because he had been speaking with the Lord . . . ” (Exodus 34:29)

Well, we did it again . . .  The tree limbs started piling up so it was time for another youth bonfire.  This photo was taken as the flames began to catch.  If you look just to the left of the flames you’ll notice what looks like a big box.  It’s not a box.  It’s another piano that was beyond repair.  Our “piano art” idea from the last bonfire caught on, so we threw another piano on the flames so the soundboard could be resurrected as art.

(In case you forgot, here’s the first piece of “piano art” from a soundboard.)

Later in the evening the flames had consumed everything except the soundboard.  We pulled it into the grass beside the fire and watched it glow.  The soundboard glowed and glowed and glowed, even after we started to douse it with water.  It took several minutes before the glowing steel returned to its normal metallic darkness.  It started me wondering . . .

This piece of metal on its own cannot glow.  Its natural state is dark and not even reflective.  On its own it would simply blend into the darkness.  However, exposed to the fire, it glows with such intensity that it pierces the darkness and for some time resists the efforts of the water to extinguish its glow. There it is, the best example I can find today for why I need to make myself available to share in the presence of God.  On my own, my spirit can’t glow with life and sing with joy.  On my own, the darkness can successfully draw me into its midst and eventually drown me in despair.  Regularly, I need to be near God’s holy presence, the fire of God’s Holy Spirit, so I can glow and share with others.

Too often, I fear, we make things too complicated, and need to be reminded of the simple ways we learned as children with story, picture, and metaphor about the majesty, mystery, and wonder of God.  I may not understand the mystery of God’s presence, but simple things like fire and steel remind me of my need to be part of that divine mystery.  I pray that God will help me find the time to regularly stand near God’s divine fire.  I need the glow!   How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on May 18, 2016.

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