… beauty for ashes …
The Legend of the Phoenix is predominately from Greek literature. It goes that a bird dies in flames, and another rises again from the ashes. If I can be excused for hijacking an ancient legend, I will tell you, from all the ways I’ve seen it portrayed, the way my heart sees it most clearly.
It starts as a bird, that for the most part appears in all ways normal. It’s a large and strong bird, with thick heavy feathers. So much so that it cannot fly. As it lives, and it lives for a painfully long time, its feathers continue to grow dull and darken; from brown to grey and from grey to black. This is because it is slowly burning from the inside out. So then its sooty black body begins to show the cracked red lines of the fire within. Finally, as the fire overwhelms the creature, it slumps over with a croaking squawk, and the flames consume it. Just like coals on a fire it continues its slow burning, the cracking red flames become silent orange radiation. The black charred body turns to fine white ash. This is a horrifically painful process. You see, the Phoenix is not its body…it is the fire. So it is alive through it all until the flames cease; Until all that is left is cold, dead… ash.
Look at it. It’s just a pile of super-soft powder. Even light wisps of wind blow some of it away. It’s nothing anymore. Its what’s left of what used to be something. Now, short of literally being nothing, it couldn’t be farther away from being anything at all. Its just…
If you’ve ever looked out into the world, or into your own life and admitted what you’ve observed, I am sure there are many who see the parallel. From global politics, to the most intimate of interpersonal relationships… there is so much that is on fire, and even more that is already only ash. Yet these are the times we live in.
These are perilous times, – 2 Timothy 3:1
and the beginning of sorrows. – Matthew 24:8
Evil grows everywhere, so the hearts of most grow cold. – Matthew 24:12
This is a horrifically painful process. However… it is just that – a process.
This is not where things end.
That is most important to understand.
Something shifts from within the ashes! They seem to stir and condense! They roil and boil, they start to glow and grow hot! Until every speck of ash shines like the sun. Then with a great burst of awesome power there is a rapturous bird keening that breaks the sky! The Phoenix rises from its ashes! It glows with power! Now no longer heavy, its feathers are crawling with the reds, yellows and oranges of living flame! It launches into the air with such force a clap of thunder shakes the ground. It goes on to fly home, to the Sun…where it always belonged.
You see, it was never a creature of this world to begin with. Knowing the fire of the sun would consume His young, the Father Phoenix brings the unborn eggs to earth. There they hatch and slowly absorb the power of the Sun, until the old body can no longer contain it, and it is consumed by even that smallest fraction of the Suns power. Then it is born again, wholly comprised of nothing except flame, and life, and power. Now, it cannot just endure, but live…but thrive with the Sun.
The Bible tells us this same message repeatedly.
John 12:24 (Jesus)
I tell you a solid truth, unless a seed is planted into the ground and dies, it will just stay a single seed,
but if it dies, then it becomes more than a seed, it grows to produce many, many seeds.
1 Corinthians 15:35-36+42-44
Some may ask, “How do the dead come back to life? What kind of body would it be that was dead and then comes back to life?” Don’t be foolish. A seed that you plant does not come alive unless it first, dies.
Our resurrection is the same. Our bodies are seeds planted as dead, they then become alive in immortality. We are planted as imperfect, we are raised in perfection. We are planted as weak, we are raised in power. A body of flesh and bone is raised as a spiritual body.
2 Corinthians 5:1+4-5
We know that our bodies, this house we live in on earth is no home, it’s just a tent. So when we die, and it’s ruined, it is of no concern to us, because we have a building from God. A home, made by hand, that will be eternal in heaven. Knowing this, and being temporarily stuck in this tent, we are burdened with a groaning desire to get out of it. Not because we want to be homeless. Not because we desire to be uncovered and naked, but because we want to be more fully clothed. We want our mortality to be consumed by immortality. Now, its not just anyone, but God who works all of this.
He has given us the Spirit, as proof He will complete it.
All this doesn’t just apply to our bodies either, it goes for absolutely everything.
I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The original heavens and earth were gone. God will wipe away all tears. Death will be gone. Sorrow will be gone. Crying will end forever. Pain will be gone.
All the former things will have passed away.
1 John 2:17
The world will fade away into nothing, along with the lust for it;
but whoever does the will of God will continue on forever.
And, what is the will of God?
John 6:29 (Jesus)
This is what the will of God is; that you believe in Him, who He sent.
Simple, but not easy, because things seem so bleak, because now we are stuck in this tent, because now there surrounds us wreckage and ruin, because now it seems that all we have of these promises to cling to are ashes, but, take heart, for those…
…are Phoenix Ashes.
Mark Vincent Vicari †
I have recorded audio versions of this, and my other devotionals, in formats that both do, and do not have background music. They can be listened to at…
I am an author, theologian and philosopher
I hope to be a teacher and a public speaker.
You can find information about me, my 1st book,
and much more that I’ve written at my website…
Please note – If Bible verses are not specifically noted as being taken directly from the King James Version, I paraphrase all Bible verses that I use. The primary reason for this is in putting a verse into my own words I clearly expose how I read and understood the verse myself. Please always take the time to compare my understanding of a verse with the verse itself from your preferred translation of the Bible.
© 2016 Mark Vicari – All Rights Reserved