This weekend we celebrate Candlemas. Traditionally this is the moment that candles were brought into church for blessing before use.
With that in mind, I have been thinking about candles. Recently, I watched as a candle we had used on several occasions, flickered its last. All that remained was a sooty mark and a little wax slowly solidifying in the base of the stand. As the candle had neared its end, I had lit another, fresher candle from it. One light had gone out, but not before the flame had been passed on. This is what candles are for, to share light.
Around the room other candles flickered: long ones, short ones, coloured ones, white ones; some freshly lit, others nearing the end. The room was filled with a warm light that danced and reflected from surface to surface. But not all the candles were alight. In a drawer, out of sight, a candle lay in darkness. This candle was a gift to mark a special occasion. The brown tip showed it had been lit, just once. Since that day it had been put away; too precious to burn. Instead, it stays in its box; kept against another special occasion – an occasion that never comes.
Candles come in many shapes and sizes. Some are two-a-penny, others cost a king’s ransom; all serve one purpose, to cast light. Light is what candles are for, it is their service. To give light, they must slowly burn away; consumed in service. Candles are not made to lie, preserved in a box.
Jesus said “You are the light of the world.” He went on to add ‘people don’t light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16). Like candles, we are made to shine as God’s light in the world. Are we prepared to let our light shine before others to the glory of God, or are we hiding away for that special moment – which may never come?
Rev Philip Payne Candlemas – 2022
The Notice Sheet for 30th January can be found here