I’m just a Christian guy trying to learn how to do this thing called life. This blog is my giving in to the desire to be able to talk openly about some of the things I’ve often struggled with, in order to learn more about myself and about others and about God.
The name of the blog comes from a combination of images from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quarters and Madeline L’Engle’s A Swiftly Titling Planet. Eliot, in the Quarters, at one point refers to the rose and the fire being metaphorically mystically united in the person of God. L’Engle has burning roses play an important part in one chapter, and one of her characters states that the fire lit on roses burns with the cleanest, most purifying flame of all. Over the years, these images wove themselves together in my mind, pushing me to eventually write this poem:
Washed by water, washed by blood,
Washed in Jesus’ crimson flood,
Cleansed from my past and putrid sin,
But is the cleansing deep within?
They say that water purifies and cleans,
But water can dissolve only dirt.
Water cannot uproot trenchant sins,
Cannot heal damage done by hurt.
Fire will burn away and seal,
Though only at the cost of pain.
Roses beautify and heal,
But with the danger oft of thorn.
Yet joy is worth the sacrifice,
For now this pain will healing bring.
Love may deliver initial sting,
But from it songs of gladness rise.
The fire and rose will be truly won,
And not just won but also one.
For the victory will unify and cleanse,
And lead the loved to light from hence.
And all will be well, and all will be well,
And all will truly be most well.
For from fire of roses, pain and thorn,
The greatest good will yet be borne.
Fire and roses are two of my favorite images of the Christian life, and thus they come together both in this poem and in the title of my blog. I hope that you too will come to be able to understand not only why these images are so dear to my heart but also the things I struggle with and the life I am leading in an attempted pursuit of God. This blog is a way for me to chronicle these thoughts, and I hope you will find them meaningful and worth the reading.