Love Like Fire

Peter Ridemann’s first Statement of Belief

Intrinsic power in all things—that is God! From him shines the light that drives away all sin in man, the Light born within us when we believe in Jesus Christ. He is the way to life in the Father’s kingdom. But no one will find it unless he becomes like him in cross, anxiety, and pain.

The one that loves God with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength would rather die than continue, even for a little while, in senseless or unprofitable thought. He would rather be silent than bring dishonour to God’s name through words and works of no value. Love like this brings about what God wants done, and makes faith alive. The one that puts it to practise is born of God.

Love is like a fire. If one puts too much wood on it right away, it goes out. But after it gets going, the more one puts on, the higher it burns—spreading easily to burn houses and surrounding woods. Only where there is no wood does the fire die and get cold.
    
That is how love works. When it begins to burn within us, any little trouble or anxiety may put it out. But when it burns in great eagerness for God, the more temptations and troubles that come upon it, the louder and higher it roars, until it devours all injustice and wickedness around it.

Only if we do not practice love, and if we grow lazy or careless, does it flicker out again, and our hearts grow cold. Then faith dies out and good works come to an end. Then we stand like withered trees fit for the fire, like Jesus says.

The spark of love is faith. Without faith there can be no love. The two belong so closely together that one cannot please God without the other.

Peter Ridemann, 1506-1556, Hirschberg, Schlesien, Germany
written during first imprisonment at Gmünden, Germany, from 1529 to 1532

Chosen as a messenger at eighteen, captured, imprisoned, four years later, Peter escaped, married, and was promptly sent on another mission journey. Imprisoned for another five years, he served the church community until his death at Brodske, Slovakia.  

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