The Sacred Blacksmith: Stoking the Sacred Fire of the Transfiguration
When a blacksmith is preparing to work his steal, he will stoke his fire, making the coals red hot. He pushes air through the embers until they glow. When the moment is right he will plunge his steal into the fire. Prior to its marriage with the flame the steal is cold, lifeless, and difficult to shape. But soon it comes alive with the flame. It begins to glow, and become one with the fire. So long as it remains in the forge, you cannot tell where the fire ends and the steal begins. They become one, yet the steal remains steal and the fire remains fire. The steal is filed with fire, covered by it, yet it is not consumed by it. This is just how it is with the Sacred Fire of the Transfiguration: God’s Holy and Uncreated Fire.
Christ is our forge and His energies our sacred fire. If we remain in Him we too become permeated by the Divine Fire. We become one with it; gods by Grace to quote the fathers. We become one with the Fire, yet remain human. We are filled with the Fire, covered with it, yet we are not consumed by it. This is the Sacred Fire of the Transfiguration, the uncreated Sacred Fire of God.
Mystery of the Transfiguration .:. Lifting the Veil
This is the mystery of the transfiguration, not that God shone with light brighter than the sun, but that we humans can shine with the same light. One of our desert fathers, while filled with the fire of God during prayer, his fingers blazing like ten luminous candles said, “if you wish, you to may become all fire.”
In fact, to quote Saint Maximus the confessor, all the world is a burning bush. Every flower, every tree, every animal is filled with God’s divine flame. Every human carries within them the light of God’s glory. If only we have eyes to see. Like Saint Paul, we too need to have the scales removed from our eyes. We need to see what has already been made reality: Earth afire with God’s glory; all creation a burning bush.
So what does this all mean for us? Let me tell you a story to illustrate.
Fr. Arseney was a political prisoner in the Soviet Union, housed in a remote prison camp in Siberia along with murderers, revolutionaries, mobsters, and common criminals. One night he received a vision from God. An angel brought him around the camp where he witnessed his fellow inmates carrying on their daily activities; some had small sparks of flame within their hearts, others had full fires burning, and still others where like walking torches, completely ablaze with the light of God. These visions brought Fr. Arseney to his knees in repentance. He realized that he had both judged his fellow inmates unfairly, and neglected his priestly duty to nurture the flame within them.
The flame is already present, but we need to lift the veil and see. We have to discern what is already manifest all around us.
Stoking the Sacred Fire
It is like when you are making a primitive fire. You take your hand drill and place it on your fire board. You begin to work the drill back and forth. Eventually you will begin to smell smoke. In due time the smoke reveals an ember. This ember then needs to be nurtured. If you are too rough with it, you will smother it, and it will go out. You cannot rush it either. Patience is required.
If you nurture that ember however, if you slowly and gently feed it with fuel and air, prayer and meditation, it will become a blazing fire. You did not make the fire, it was always there, buried in the fibers of the wood. You simply unveiled it. You simply acquired the eyes to see.
This in essence is the goal of the Christian life, acquiring the eyes to see. Lifting the veils and unearthing that which is already present. Jesus didn’t become transfigured on Mount Tabor, we did. He always shone with the light of divine fire. It was the apostles who were changed, for in that moment, the veil lifted and they where able to see that which was always present before them.
The Transfiguration and the Sacred Fire: Lifting the Veil
Summary: The miracle of the Transfiguration isn’t that God shone with light brighter than the sun, but that we too can shine with that same light. The Sacred Fire of the Transfiguration is already in us, all we need to do is lift the veil and see. The Sacred Fire of the Transfiguration is already a present reality within us.
Join us as we strive to create a more peaceful world as we seek to meet the Creator, through the creation. Strive with us to develop an authentic Trinitarian communion, as we honor our God, demonstrate love to one another, and show compassion upon all of nature.
Want to learn how to stoke the sacred fire? Then join us in one of our holy wild gatherings.
Rewild Church meets in Pittstown, NJ and in various other locations throughout Hunterdon County New Jersey.
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Christian Ecology, Theology, and Holistic Herbalism
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Pittstown, NJ (Hunterdon County New Jersey)