My favorite church service of the year is the Easter Vigil. For those who don’t know, the service is built around the movement from dark to light, the movement from death to life. It has hours (2 hours for us) of Scripture readings that trace “The story.” Adam, Noah, Abraham, Issac…. you get the point, there is singing interspersed and responsive readings. All the while the building is moving from dark to light. The readings are done by candle light (candles that have been lit by the Christ candle) and each person in the congregation is holding a candle as well… for nearly 2 hours.
For nearly 2 hours I sat by children with fire. After an hour and a half one gave up, but honestly its nothing to be ashamed of… she fought the good fight. There were several close calls, like the first time hot wax fell on her hand and she refused the urge to drop the candle into my lap. This is the child who has naturally curly hair and likes to wear it long and wild, and therefore we did slightly exude the smell of burnt hair, but only briefly.
Round about minute forty a sneezing fit nearly blew the light out. But no, she kept it safe and lit.
It was shining bright in the darkness making it possible for us to read and therefore pray with the rest of the congregation. That little light made it possible to worship and to hear “the story.”
When she was too tired to hang on safely, I held it for her. She curled up next to me and slept, after making me promise to wake her for communion. It’s her first communion after being recently baptized and this was a big deal for her.
Managing two candles and a fire friendly paper prayer booklet was a harrowing task. All my senses were focused on not burning the church down. I had to mind the light.
Mind the Light is a Quaker phrase. It means to pay attention to the light of Jesus within us, is it bright or dim? Is it going out, or setting our neighbor on fire? There are two ways to be a light to those around us, one is harmful and can leave permanent damage, the other shows the way, brings warmth.
This is what we’re talking about these days. Minding the Light.
In the morning, How can I mind the light of Jesus today? (Bible reading, prayer, solitude, a walk outside, forgiving others, asking forgiveness, making space for mistakes)
In the evening, How did I mind the light of Jesus today?
So it’s the evening of Easter Sunday. Jesus is the light, how are you minding it?