Saturday Easter Fire : Symbolism Of Fire, Liturgical  Significance, And Biblical References

Saturday Easter Fire : Symbolism Of Fire, Liturgical  Significance, And Biblical References

 By  Emmanuel Gandu

WHAT IS EASTER FIRE ?

Easter fire also called Paschal fire is typically bonfire lit at Easter Saturday night as part of liturgical solemn celebration beginning the liturgy of the Easter vigil.

Easter fire is a bonfire for worshipers to use in lighting up their candles for the liturgical celebration during the Holy Saturday night for the Easter Vigil Mass celebration.

The fireplace and bonfire is prepared outside the church and it is blessed by the priest before the worshipers use it to light up their candles, then process into the dark church signifying that Christ died into darkness on Good Friday, and his resurrection on Sunday morning will bring light and life to the world

This celebration marks part of the conclusion of the Easter (Paschal ) Triduum .

Easter fire is observed not only by Catholics but also by some Anglican Church,  Methodist, and a few others.

SIGNIFICANCE OF EASTER FIRE

(1) Fire 🔥 is one of the most frequently used symbols in Catholic faith because it communicates the significance of the Holy Spirit, purification, and bringing of light into the darkness of the world.

(2) At Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night, it is accorded a special solemn position in that liturgical celebration as it is the “Service of Light” in the liturgy.

(3) The Easter fire and the lighted candle procession is symbolic of the Israelites who followed the pillar of fire at night as they were leaving Egypt – Exodus 13:17-22.

BIBLICAL REFERENCES TO FIRE

(1) Fire was crucial for the Old Testament sacrifices for the following reasons :

(a) Fire on the alter of burnt offering was a divine gift from God – Leviticus 9:24

(b) God charged the priests to keep His fire lit – Leviticus 6:13

(c) God showed His presence to the Israelites by filling the tabernacle with fire – Numbers 9:14-15

(d) The Holy spirit comforts the people of God, dwelling in them as the tabernacle and temple of the living God – 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2 Corinthians 6:16

(2) Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because God descended on it in fire – Exodus 19:18, Exodus 24:17

(3) The Bible describes God as “a consuming fire” – Hebrews 12:29. Little wonder scripture often uses fire as a symbol of the presence of God :

(a) The burning bush – Exodus 3:2

(b) His glory – Exodus 14:19, Numbers 9:15-16

(c) Ezekiel’s vision – Ezekiel 1:4

(4) Fire as an instrument of God’s judgement – Numbers 11:19, 1Kings 1:10

(5) Fire as a sign of His powers – Judges 13:20, 1Kings 18:38

(6) Baptism – “I baptise you with water, but the one who is coming will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire – Luke 3:16, Matthew 3:11-12.

(7) Others include – 1 Corinthians 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 1:7.

Wishing you a fulfilled Lenten season, and a Happy Easter.

Peace  🙏

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