Book Reflection: Water, Oil, and Fire
By David Brock of Redmond, OR, USA
It all begins with light and fire, as Doctrine and Covenants 85 declares:
This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made…he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and…also the light of the stars…and the earth…even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which now shines, which gives you light, is through him who enlightens your eyes, which is the same light that quickens your understandings; which light proceeds forth from the presence of God, to fill the immensity of space. The light which is in all things; which gives life to all things; which is the law by which all things are governed…
Those revelatory words complement the writings of a present-day scientist and theologian, Linda Gibler, in From the Beginning to Baptism: Scientific and Sacred Stories of Water, Oil, and Fire: “The fire burning within us, physically and spiritually, burns in all living things. Everything is fire. Fire—flame and light—resonant with Sun and stars, provides the energy that courses through all that breathes and holds the entire world together at the most intimate level.”
The Hebrew Bible tells us that Moses saw a burning bush—a vision of divine radiance. God was clear to Elijah in a fiery chariot and to the Hebrews as a pillar of fire by night. God in the Old Testament is a blaze that attracts, commands, argues, and relents. God is fire of compassion. God as fire is the determination that drives, guides, comforts, and assures the people. God is Fierce Care. God is Enduring Presence.
The New Testament adds: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it…The true light, which enlightens everyone, is still coming into the world” (1 John 1:3–5, 9, adapted).
According to Gibler, science confirms and enriches Holy Scripture:
The same physiology that causes a candle to burn enables respiration within our cells and the cells of all living beings. Like a candle flame, we radiate light every moment. Our body’s breathing burns carbon and oxygen and releases water and carbon dioxide. Like a candle flame, our cells also release light.
When a child sees his father’s smile, the light emitted from his father reaches the child’s eyes and then his sensitive nerve cells interpret the image. However, the light emitted by the atoms of his father’s face is not limited to those that m eet his eyes; his entire body absorbs light from his father and from everything else in the room. Like the father and the child, each of us is broadcasting light in every direction at every moment. Everything is constantly shining light toward everything else. We are pillars of light.
We are literally a candle burning, a light that cannot be hid! Light we emitted at birth is now hurtling through space at 186,000 miles per second. For me it is now more than 63 light years away. Spend the rest of your “light-year life” trying to grasp that!!!
Fire fuels our love and our passion. This fire “draws the entire Universe forward,” says Gibler. May we follow the unquenchable fire in our hearts.
May our prayer always be:
Breathe on me, Breath of God,
till I am wholly thine,
until this earthly part of me
glows with thy fire divine.
—by Edwin Hatch, Community of Christ Sings 190
Spiritual Practice: Light
Close your eyes, and become centered with your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light, and it lives in you.
Today, God, I will light a candle to guide my spiritual reflection.