For starters, I want you to be familiar with the verses that this study is both based off of and inspired by. So, here are a few to start us off:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other…” Matthew 6:24
“For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29
If we look at the verse from Galatians, we find justification for Christ playing a role in every aspect of our lives. The Bible says that Christ lives in us. And this fact is a pretty incredible testament to his sacrifice. Not only did he die for our sins (sins to which he never contributed), but now he has chosen to let his Spirit take residence in us. That should be incredibly humbling us. Because it means that inside our bodies resides something perfect. That inside our bodies that have been corrupted by sin and the pressures and demands of the world lays something that never succumbed to those things. That should give us hope. And not only should it give us hope, but a purpose. A purpose that calls us to serve him in every aspect of our lives.
So, does God have a place in Bonfire? Yes. He has a place in our hearts and thereby every aspect of our lives that we commit part of our love to. And you probably know just as well as I do that that’s what bonfire becomes when you begin building it. It’s a source of love. Sometimes almost a relationship. It requires our time and attention, and the more we put into it, the more it gives back to us. For lack of a better way to put it, when it comes to Bonfire, we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-9).
Another bible verse that caught my eye when I went looking for material to support and inspire this blog post was Matthew 6:24. It captured my attention because it reminded me of how many times I had heard people say that Bonfire (or A&M for that matter) was their religion. While I appreciate this phrase metaphorically because it illustrates an Aggie’s relationship to this activity, when it’s used literally it bugs the junk out of me. Matthew 6:24 warns us that, “no one can serve two masters…” It’s a comment on idolatry. And I believe that that’s honestly one of the struggles of Bonfire. Where do we draw the line? Bonfire takes up an incredible amount of our time. And the more time you commit to something, the greater amount of your thoughts it occupies and inspires. It’s important to keep in perspective what Bonfire really is. Does it build us up as Aggies? Yes. Does it teach us skills and lessons valuable to life? Yes. Does it hold a place in our hearts forever? Probably. But is it our religion? No. Matthew 6:24 tells us that in cases of idolatry, we will love one and hate the other. Because worship is a special thing. The aspects and amount of ourselves that worship calls us to commit weren’t made to be split or shared. Going back to the verse from Galatians, if Christ lives in us, he doesn’t want his Spirit to be set aside or neglected in favor of false idols. Bonfire has a time, a place, and a purpose. But it isn’t a Bible. It isn’t a church. And it most certainly should not hold a divine position in our lives.
The third verse that caught my eye (and I’m absolutely in love with this one) is Hebrews 12:29. “For our God is a consuming fire.” This verse drives my heart crazy. Because it reminds me of the true “eternal flame” in my life. God shines light in those places that are void of it. And as he moves through the world, all that are touched by this light bear the possibility of being consumed by his love. In the Bible, fire is more often than not cleansing rather than destructive. It’s a fire that consumes our hearts and cleanses them of unclean thought and intentions. If you follow Catholic teachings (like I strive to), it’s the fire of Purgatory that cleanse you of any remaining sin and scars of the world that you might be prepared to meet God at your best. As Christians, the “eternal flame” is the heart of God constantly trying to pull us closer to him and prepare us for His Kingdom. And maybe we should consider that as we boast of the Eternal Flame we hold within our hearts as Aggies. Maybe we should consider the other side of the coin. Because maybe the Eternal Flame has the potential to go further than just Bonfire. Maybe it has the potential to voice our willingness to live our lives in such a way that our example leads others to Christ that their hearts might be consumed by his saving, healing, and redeeming love.
Helpful verses for builders of Aggie Bonfire:
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
”Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15