God and Fire

What did the fireman say when the church caught on fire?
Holy smoke!

(Is it too early to joke?)

As you know, we had a fire at the Wesley House early Wednesday morning. The fire department responded quickly to a call from a motorist driving past, and the fire was put out quickly. The fire was contained to the storage room on the carport, the carport itself, and some damage to the van (plastic bumpers melt!). The smoke spread throughout the house, contaminating everything in it. We will know more about what’s next once the insurance adjuster arrives (he’s scheduled to come today/Friday).

In the meantime, ministry continues to happen. Our Counselor-in-Residence has moved to Room 22/23 until further notice, making these rooms inaccessible during the day while she sees clients. Our youth will meet this week in the Library for Sunday School and the Fellowship Hall in the evening while they decide what longer-term solution makes sense. The Trustees will work with the proper teams to direct cleanup and a return to ministry in the space.

With this experience in mind, I’ve reflected this week on the stories of fire in the Bible. I love the story of Elijah running from the king (see 1 Kings 19). He goes to the top of the mountain where the wind and the fire come, but he doesn’t experience God in those events. God is, instead, in the calm and stillness after those leave. God is not in the chaos of the events but is found after.

When have you experienced God, not during a tragedy or a challenging time, but in the aftermath? It doesn’t mean God wasn’t there in the wind and the fire; it’s just that we often don’t see God in those moments. We can see God afterward, though. In the quiet while someone sits with us after a death or an accident. In the cleanup after a literal storm. God can be found after a tragedy in real ways.

There are other fire stories in the Bible that tell us God is in the middle of the fire. In Exodus 3, God appears to Moses in the flames of fire of a burning bush. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in the Upper Room as tongues of fire. God is found in the fires that get the attention of those gathered and invites them to listen, to follow.

I don’t know what this fire will teach us. I don’t know what lessons we will learn. I don’t know how this will change us. But I know that we can find God when we search for God. Let’s keep our eyes open to the opportunities before us, and give thanks that God is with us.

Join us for worship Sunday. This week, our 10 a.m. service will be a contemporary flow of worship led by the Praise Band that will begin our service at Sanctuary Campus on Aug. 20. Our 8:30 service will be led by the organ, with a quartet offering special music. In both services, Pastor Kevin will share our message around Jacob’s wrestling match and we will have communion. Join us in the cool of the sanctuary on what promises to be a hot day!

See you soon,
Pastor Lynn


  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service in sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s AZ or use this link.