web analytics

The Lonely Ember


A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services
regularly, stopped going.

After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly
evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a
blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man
welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. The
pastor made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he
contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs.

After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked
up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth
all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host
watched all this in quiet fascination.

As the one lone ember’s flame diminished, there was a momentary glow
and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and “dead as a

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

Just before the pastor was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead
ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it
began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning
coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, “Thank you so
much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be
back in church next Sunday.”

Author Unknown

If you appreciated this post, do remember to like the liturgy facebook page, use the RSS feed, and sign up for a not-very-often email, …

Similar Posts:

2 thoughts on “The Lonely Ember”

  1. Sande Ramage

    Hmmm. So hoping the man rethinks falling for that old chestnut. The idea that there is only one form of community that matters is nonsense. Or maybe that man needs a bit of solitude right now to recover from a community that burns him up. Perhaps the pastor could have encouraged the man to tell his story. He might have found out why he walked away.

    1. Bosco Peters

      Thanks for your important reflection, Sande. The ember, as you indicate, would glow in many different fires. Sometimes the “fire” is dead, the ember is the only source of light and heat, and the other dead embers in the “fire” drain the fire and heat from the single ember. Sometimes what is supposed to be a fire is actually a tank of water, and a glowing ember joining this “fire” is soon put out. Blessings.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.