Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | May 24, 2015

May 24, 2015 “The Choice of Pyre or Pyre”

“Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.” (Acts 2:4)

Good Morning, and a Blessed Lord’s Day Everyone!

Today, Christian churches across the world celebrate the occasion of Pentecost…the day promised by Christ to his disciples when the mighty power of the Holy Spirit would descend from heaven upon them, endowing them with the supernatural power of God to go out into the world and fulfill his Great Commission. As promised, that is exactly what occurred. Once timid, fearful, and sequestered in secret places, these anointed men and women of God not only sensed, but saw manifested in wind and in flame, the Holy Spirit of God as He made His transforming presence known in their lives, and the Church was born on that great day. This morning, as I prepared to share these thoughts with you, I discovered a portion of a poem by the great American poet T.S. Eliot entitled “Four Quartets”, a poem that captures the essence of that great event. Here is what Eliot wrote:

“The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.”

Eliot’s poem emotionally draws me in to the hearts and minds of those who experienced that event firsthand. Some scoffed…others were terrorized…still others were emboldened with the message of God’s salvation…”the one discharge from sin and error“, shared with those who fearfully inquired “what must we do to be saved?” Eliot got it right when he wrote “The only hope, or else despair, Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-To be redeemed from fire by fire….We only live, only suspire , Consumed by either fire or fire.”  Those faced with such a choice that day either scoffed or questioned what must we do to be saved?”  Peter’s response was Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Two thousand years later, the only correct answer to that query is that which was delivered through Peter by the power of the Holy Spirit. How will you respond? “We only live, only suspire , Consumed by either fire or fire.” Let’s pray!

Holy God, Merciful and Mighty; I pray that your Holy Spirit would descend upon my heart, consuming me to the core with sin’s great antidote…your amazing love and grace. Blessed be the Name of the Lord, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Sovereign. Amen!


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