Friday, February 13, 2009

Why Call It Ember?

This is an explanation of the name 'ember.'

What does Ember mean? Why are you calling your church that? Sometimes the only answer I’ve been able to give to these questions is that Ember just sounds cool. No other church is named Ember. It sounds more like a club than a place of worship. And yes, that appeals to me. But there really is a meaning behind the name.
Most forest fires are started by small embers. I heard that somewhere, but I don’t remember if the source was reliable. I thought it was the perfect metaphor to describe a church. We’re just a bunch of little embers, and if the Holy Spirit passes over us, this whole nation could be set on fire for God. It’s revivalistic.
But as I thought more about what an ember is, I realized that it doesn’t just start fires, it’s the last part of the fire to go out. It burns the longest. When the campfire dies, you’ve still got to put out the embers. An ember is the remnant. When the fire dies the embers still burn, waiting to start another fire.
Our church bears this name because we believe that God has called us to be embers. We live in a post-Fourth Great Awakening, post-evangelical, post-Christian society. In other words, the fire has died. Our world is post-burn, and only God knows if it’s ready for another blaze. So maybe it’s not our job to set the world on fire for Jesus, but just to be ready for the possibility. It would be a tragedy if the Spirit blew across our city but there were no burning embers to spread the fire.
Enough with the metaphor. This is what it means to be an ember: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. People who are on fire for God love Him and love others. We love the Father. We love the Son. We love the Holy Spirit. We love the people we come across everyday.
An ember is what remains. We are the post-fire remnant that refuses to let it’s love for God and others be extinguished. We will not fizzle and fade into darkness. We will shine with the light and heat of our love for God and others. And bear this in mind: The fire of God’s love for us is far more than embers; it is a blazing inferno that will never be snuffed out. So may we, as mere embers, burn with love for God and others, and wait for the Spirit to pass over us.

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