The power of the flame

What is it about the small flickering flame of a candle that can say so much? Put it on top of a cake and it’s a celebration of another year of survival. Placed on a table for dinner and it makes the mood more romantic. In a power blackout they are a source of light that breaks the darkness. At a wedding it is symbolic of a new chapter in a relationship, and in sorrow it is a reminder of a loved one no longer with us.

Over recent months our community has been rocked by a number of sudden deaths of young people, some in motor vehicle accidents, some by their own hand. In a close knit community such as ours the connection to people affected by such tragedies is inevitable.

As one of the churches in this area, we recognised that people are in pain and we wanted to demonstrate that we care. Instead of running our usual church service we felt led to open our space for two hours this afternoon and offer a “Candlelight Service” for people to come, to reflect, to pray.

There were no formal words spoken, but a booklet was provided with a number of prayers, scripture and poems that people could read. We had a box for prayer requests, some condolence pages, refreshments to share and people willing to be a listening ear. We had quiet music playing and beautiful images on the screen and an opportunity to light a candle from a central pillar candle and place it on a table of sand.

The simplicity of this action was readily embraced by almost every one that chose to attend today. Somehow it seemed to speak of hope and warmth, of love and presence. The flames of those candles were what many chose to watch in the time they spent. For some, the action of lighting a candle is what brought their tears to the surface, for others this same action brought their tears to an end.

I chose to sit and observe what was happening this afternoon, primarily to be aware of those who needed a little extra care and to ensure things were running well. I was intrigued to witness the power of the flame – mesmerising, comforting, healing and breaking the darkness. Immediately I was drawn to the words of Jesus when He walked this earth. He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John chapter 8 verse 12)

I was thinking about the mesmerising, comforting and healing powers of Jesus in my life, and He certainly breaks through the darkness of this world. I am glad to know that by choosing to follow Jesus and His teaching I am able to claim the light of life for myself. This thought will now forever be connected to candlelight as I move forward, for which I am grateful.

Be blessed.

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