“There’s nothing sacred about lighting candles,” my seminary worship professor said.
He was right, of course. We use candles in worship, but the act of lighting them isn’t a sacred act.
But the warm and hopeful glow of eleven candles around the baptismal font on a gray and gloomy morning, one for each saint of First and Beckville who died since last All Saints Sunday, and one for each new saint who was baptized since then. There’s something sacred about that.
And the silence of the children gathered on the chancel steps as we lit a baptismal candle from one of the candles on the font and placed it gently on the altar, to remind us of our own baptisms and how they connect us to to those eleven people and to Christ. There was something sacred about that.
And sitting and gazing at the candlelight as we sang “For All The Saints” and “Thy Strong Word” and “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy”. And standing at the altar and looking out at all the sinners and saints through that gentle glow while I presided at holy communion. There was something sacred about that, too.
All Saints Sunday is a little Easter. A little glimpse of the God who brings hope out of despair and life out of death. Who washes us all in the baptismal waters, feeds us all at Christ’s table, and gives us all the Light of the world, the light of the sun, the light of the candles by which we sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia, without end!
What’s better in candlelight? Or, what has you singing alleluia today?