The beautiful cross and flame of Desert Spring Church.
*photo credit: Kate McCarthy
Julie Hart’s weekly devotionals are now available via the website and on our app. They are published on Thursdays and have a new name, “From the Hart”.
To read Julie’s devotionals on our app, please search “Desert Spring Church” in your app store, text “app” to 702-766-6641, or use this link: https://a3a.me/desertspringunitedmethodistchurch
“From the Hart” Devotional for Oct. 12, 2023
“The Cross and Flame”
by Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries
When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
We are blessed with a beautiful house of worship here at Desert Spring church. The focal point of course being the cross and flame that can be seen from both inside and outside of the building. The cross and flame were actually here before our sanctuary, and before Desert Spring became my church home.
While it is no doubt a beautiful piece of art for us to enjoy, it is the symbolism of the cross and flame that represents who we are as a church. The cross and flame became the symbol of The United Methodist Church back in 1968 when the two churches (The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church) became one. The cross represents Christ as our foundation, and the flames represent the union of the churches— hence the single but dual flames descending to one point.
These flames are rooted in scripture and the story of Pentecost that we read about in the book of Acts when the apostles were baptized in the spirit and given the gift of tongues allowing their preaching to be heard by all those around them, leading to the conversion of thousands. And finally, the flames are also an expression of warmth, from John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience when his heart was “strangely warmed” and he was moved from despair to hope and belief.
I love that our insignia is a symbol of unity. And it is good to remember that in a time when we have just gone through a season of loss. While we were not impacted by the disaffiliation of some of our United Methodist churches, we too are hurt by the fact that our church that was born out of unity was able to be divided.
We know that this division has left some of our fellow Methodist brothers and sisters without church homes all together. And we know that some churches that did not disaffiliate are still reeling from the damage that the discussions and votes caused them. It’s all a little overwhelming to think about, isn’t it?
I think the best thing that we can do is to pray about it. And to remember where we came from…. We were created in the likeness of God. Each and every one of us. Pastor David often reminds us that we are a beloved child of God beautiful to behold. You are. I am.
And so are those who are no longer our United Methodist brothers and sisters. We love each other because that is what Christ came to teach us to do. We are followers of Christ living out our faith in the ways that John Wesley taught us to live: with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.
We are saints. And we are sinners. And we are forgiven. The cross and flame remind us that just as the apostles were anointed by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, we too are to go forth and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Which brings me to the one question that I have for us this week: Just how are we going to go about doing that?
In this world that feels more and more divided, let us be instruments of your peace.
Light a fire in us that will allow us to use our tongues to speak with love and boldness.
Let both our words and actions glorify your Holy name.