Alleluia Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
How we sang that out on Easter Day at the churches of All Saints and St. Edmunds ! The sun was shining, the churches were bedecked in flowers and there was such joyful singing. We remembered the pain and sadness of the last days of Christ’ life here on earth during Holy Week but on Sunday, we celebrated with joy his resurrection to eternal life. This is His gift to us all as well.
To mark this new beginning, the Paschal or Easter candle was processed to all the corners of the churches, spreading light and the power of Christ throughout the congregation. This candle will be lit in the coming church year ,especially in baptism services. From that candle, baptismal candles will be lit so that the newly baptised child of God will have part of that light with them always.
Candles are such powerful symbols of Christ’s presence in our world and in our lives. We use small tea lights as votive candles in church as part of our prayers- that the candles may remain alive after we have left. Congregations use candles in services to show that they hold the light of Christ in their hands . We light candles even when we are not sure why – just that it seems the right thing to do.
I remember when the All Saints School choir and musicians travelled to Gibraltar and performed in services there, including in the Cathedral. We stayed at a hostel on the southernmost part of Gibraltar. Nearby, there was a cemetery with very old and untended graves. From that place we could see Tangiers and at times, we gathered there informally at sunset. Some of the group lit candles in memory of those who had died, whose graves were so overgrown and whose headstones were indecipherable. It was a moving sight to see these children, with flickering candles, sitting in silence , looking at the beautiful sunset. It just seemed the right thing to do.
We do not always have a reason for doing the things that we do but we should hold our candles high and know that we may be moved by a power greater than ourselves We should be secure in the understanding that the risen Christ is always by our side, willing us on to further the kingdom of God on earth. Alleluia!
Rev Betty Port