Advent Devotion #1 - "The Kingdom of Heaven is Like a S'more" by Rev. Brittani M. Bair

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” – Hebrews 12:28-29

Kingdom recipes… that’s how I’ve decided to interpret Advent this year, as a recipe-share. Perhaps this devotion booklet should be seen as a cookbook, a collection of the times we’ve gotten the conditions and ingredients close enough that the Kingdom of God has emerged warmly and deliciously from the cookie sheets and casserole dishes of our souls.

Food is just one potential ingredient in a Kingdom-recipe. It’s a good start, but it’s not mandatory. One recipe I’ve already written about was the “heaven sermon, communion table, fire alarm” recipe. Now I would like to write about the “sleeping bag, campfire, guitar” recipe. (This one has optional food ingredients: marshmallow, Hershey bar, graham cracker, FYI.)

This year I decided the youth needed to try this recipe out together in the middle of nowhere. While they found my actual food planning lack-luster, the Youth Retreat recipe still produced edible Kingdom-moments. Most of these happened around the campfire… which must be something that resonates with humanity on a primitive level.  Gathered around campfires for two nights, we sang songs, shared stories, made memories and communed with God.

On the first night, we had Darrell Adams with us. Darrell + guitar + campfire is one of the simplest and best-tasting Kingdom recipes I know. Like a no-bake cookie, when the ingredients get warm, they just stick together Holy.

On the second night, the youth just started telling stories about their grandparents, which for our American youth were love stories and for our Karen youth were ghost stories. Looking into the campfire flames they journeyed across time and space to bring forth these echoes of love, and of loss, mostly for the joy of screaming at the end and scaring each other. Silly as it may have been intended, there’s something Holy about sitting in a circle with friends around a fire. Whether we sing our praises up at the stars, scream our fears out into the darkness, of just howl joyfully at the moon, dancing by the flames of Heaven.

God, grant us a Holy fire, burning deep inside, that never burns out and smells faintly of marshmallow. Amen.