1 Fingerprints of Fire

touching our identity

Questions for reflection

What is your instinctive reaction to the question “Who are you?”?

What is it that most easily defines you; your job, your nationality, your family, your relationships? Is this a good thing?

Would you consider using the Namaste greeting, which implies ‘I honour the divine in you’?

How can we try and reclaim the imagery of fire as reflecting the love of God, rather than so many of the negative associations that have become associated with it?

Further reading and further thoughts

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin The Phenomenon of Man

“Religious and philosophical beliefs are, indeed, as dangerous as fire, and nothing can take from them that beauty of danger. But there is only one way of really guarding ourselves against the excessive danger of them, and that is to be steeped in philosophy and soaked in religion.” GK Chesterton, Heretics

Read: Exodus 3:1–22

The classic work on physical touch is Ashley Montagu, ‘Touching: Human Significance of the Skin’, (3rd revised edition) HarperPerennial 1987

Ashley Montagu says, “Where touching begins, there love and humanity also begin”.

A peacemeal idea

Everyone loves a candlelit dinner or eating around a campfire. There is something deeply spiritual and sociable about mixing food with fire. Try sharing a simple Peacemeal either indoors by candlelight or outdoors by fireside, drawing on the imagery of ‘fire as love’ to bring a new dimension to reflecting on the love symbolised in the sharing of bread and wine.

Living it out

Embrace your unique identity every day. Confidently state, “I am … (saying your own name)” as both Fran and Noel do in the book. What does that mean in reality and practice? If you are uncertain what that declaration means for you take time to explore it. Put into words and actions the qualities that you identify within yourself or aspire to. Share your understandings and discoveries with someone close to you.

Quietly develop ‘a presence of kindness’ around you as you move among other people. A simple greeting, kind words and an appropriate smile all communicate a sense of wellbeing among those you encounter. Seek to touch people with life-giving words and actions – they cost nothing beyond the decision to live like that – but their powerful impact on other people’s lives is immeasurable.

A meditation

Try a meditation as you walk down a busy street. Look at each face that you pass and consciously identify each person as someone who is made in the image and likeness of God. Try keeping a journal to document any reflections that come to you when you do this meditation.