Fire : We are Keepers of the Eternal Flame

So what then are the tips or tricks for finding new horizons in our own back yard?

As we come to the end of our summer day trips in and around DC, let us remember the journey to finding and appreciating all the riches that surround us. What started as merely a substitute for grander visions of travel, has produced in me a transformation of the heart. This journey of finding spiritual food in the sights close to home, has re-kindled in me a divine spark and passion for living that was so desperately missing from my life at the end of the school year.

If you like, you can re-trace these posts from the beginning here.

It is appropriate now at summer’s end that we should complete our journey here in Arlington National Cemetery at perhaps the most artistically inspired grave of John F. Kennedy.  Let the sight of this memorial fill your heart with hope.  Let us resolve to re-commit ourselves to the continued journey….the journey of those of us who are the keepers of the eternal flame. This eternal flame that shines a light into darkness and says “Yes! I believe there is a God and Yes! Our God is a God of Love!

John F. Kennedy’s Grave Site Eternal Flame, Arlington National Cemetery, site design by architect John Carl Warnecke, photo source Zurigizaki.

I have never really thought about the meaning or idea of an eternal flame and so it was interesting to learn this week:

“a flame, lamp or torch that burns continuously for an indefinite period. Most often to commemorate a person or event of national significance, or serve as a reminder of commitment to a common goal such as international peace.”   from wikipedia

Many ancient cultures have used the eternal flame as a symbol of “divine spark” and so not surprising to find that our Judeo/Christian tradition also recounts in Leviticus a fire on the altar that must burn continuously.

“The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. [peace offering] The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.’  Leviticus 6:12-13

These traditions resonate within our culture as we light a candle to offer up our prayers for someone. It becomes a symbol of our heart as it collectively reaches out to God with all our hopes.  These are the images that comfort us  while reminding us of our need for God’s presence.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy grave site marker, photo source, Ingfbruno

This then seemed a natural image for Jacqueline Kennedy as she requested the design for her husbands grave site.

There too, the Kennedy’s, often associated with the story of Camelot, were quite fond of the Arthurian writings of T. H. White, and in particular his book named: Candle in the Wind.  The theme of this story being one of never loosing hope in the midst of storms and trails was what defined JFK’s iconic presidency and Jacqueline  later re-counted in an interview shortly after her husband’s death, that most evenings before the President would go to bed he would listen to the music of Camelot. In particular he loved the last line:

“Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot”

I love that story and how it reveals all the idealistic dreams  John F. Kennedy had for our country and this region.

So for our devotion this week, let us remember that Christ, the light of the world, came to live among us to let the light of God’s love shine in the darkness of this world. And so each of us must become missionaries of hope in our own neighborhoods.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…. For it is light that makes everything visible. Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Ephesians 5: 1-2, 14

I hope you have been inspired to find your own sources of refreshment this summer. And I pray that you will enter this new school year with renewed passion for living.

Dear Lord,

Help us this week to remember to stop and rest in your presence. Remind us to look for all the little things that sing to us of your love so that we might learn to scatter your seeds generously into the world around us. Lord you know there have been many who have left  us for one reason or another and we honor their departure as we remember what a blessing they have been to our lives. Help us to let go now and to take hold of our new place as children of the King.

It is my prayer that each of you will learn to see the wonder of your surroundings and to share this with those around you. As we each continue in our “Happily Everaftering” here in Camelot:))

“In everyone’s life at sometime our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful to those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”   Albert Schweitzer

p.s. My Dancing Day: Reflections of the Incarnation in Art and Music the ebook version is coming soon:) and I have lots of new ideas for the Fall so keep tuning in…if you should have a favorite painting, passage of scripture, poem or song, I hope you will share these with me, in other words, I am taking request:))

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