by Pastor Blake Cromwell
Many who read the next several paragraphs will closely identify with the embarrassing misadventure of Harley Sheffield.
Sheffield, a 32-year-old resident of Redmond, Washington, was one of the 10,000 people selected to help transport the Olympic flame across America to its summer resting place in Atlanta, Georgia. As he rode across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge with the torch nestled in a holder on the back of his bicycle, Sheffield’s rear tire caught an expansion grate on the bridge.
For bicycle travel, the torch rests in a Plexiglas holder over the rear tire. The tire blew out. So did the flame.
Sheffield couldn’t believe it, “The torch,” he later recalled, “had shattered all over the ground.”
According to Alexis Davis, spokeswoman for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, torches have gone out before. “But,” she adds, “the mother flame is kept within yards.” On those occasions, the “sacred” flame, which is kept in a lantern for just such purposes, ignited a replacement torch, and the 15,000-mile trip continued.
Using this story as a modern day parable, I offer a spiritual application for our lives.
Sociologists tell us that there are hundreds of thousands of people who are searching for a spiritual flame that once burned in their lives but has long since “burned out.”
Our story, the life and times of modern America, has become a common one. As children, or teenagers, God and His Church were very large, very real and very important to many of us. All was well as we pedaled across the wide and wondrous bridges of life.
But then there was a bump in the road. We left home to strike out on our own. We went to college, entered the military, or got a job. We got married, had kids. Some did drugs, or involved themselves in countless other distractions.
And some how, in some way, people by the hundreds of thousands began to sense they had been separated from the flame. People who study such things tells us that many of those same people are now searching, looking diligently to again find the fire, that once burned so brightly in their lives.
If that is you, know this. The “Sacred Flame,” the Spirit of Christ has always been close by, ready to reignite and burn brighter in you than ever before.
All of us, at one time have had our lives jolted by unexpected and unwanted bumps in the road. But such moments need not be the end of the journey.
Having said all of that let me take this moment to encourage you with the realization of God’s continuing love for you; and to invite you to His house, His Church this weekend. This is a great weekend to reignite your spiritual flame. Come again to feel the warmth and see life in the brightness of His Flame. It will be a great day for you and all the churches in the Kings County.