The United Reformed Church Chesham
June/July 2012 Newsletter
A busy time is ahead with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations followed by the Olympic Games. At present the Queen is visiting various parts of the country and the Olympic Flame is being carried by specially selected people on a journey around the UK. It is good to see happy crowds joining in these events and to see positive stories on the news.
The ancient Greeks believed that fire was given to humankind by Prometheus, and considered fire to have sacred qualities. Mirrors were used to focus the sun's rays to ignite flames that would burn perpetually in front of Greek temples. Greek rituals also included torch relays, although this was not actually part of the Olympic Games. Today, the Olympic flame is lit in front of the ruins of the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece. The flame emphasizes the connection between the ancient games and the modern ones. The modern use of the Olympic Flame began in 1936. It coincided with the advent of a long relay of runners carrying torches to bring the flame from Olympia to the site of the games. Once there, the torch is used to light a cauldron that remains lit until it is extinguished in the Closing Ceremony. The torch flame is kept alive in a canister.
We have just celebrated Pentecost the day when the disciples received the Holy Spirit (see the story in Acts 2). It was a noisy event, we are told the Holy Spirit came as a violent wind and fire. Flames were seen to rest on the heads of the disciples. After this the disciples were empowered to speak boldly and many people, over 3000, hearing their words joined their numbers so that the early Church was started. The flame of the Spirit will burn perpetually linking us firstly to God and also to the disciples of old and those to come. A flame is powerful; it can ignite other flames, it can cleanse, and it is a light to be followed. We are specially chosen by God to be flame bearers for the torch of the Holy Spirit.
We may not all be keen on sport, but we can all appreciate the commitment required to train and be ready to either play a part in a team or to do your best in any event. The sense of achievement and fulfilment comes not just from winning, but also from being able to take part.
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honour, right alongside God. (Hebrews 12:1-2, The Message)
Let’s keep the flame of the Holy Spirit
visible in our world!