December 30, 2009
Candles, Part 1
Usually my columns are reflective pieces, but once in a while I use them to share information; this is one of the latter.
Several people have spoken to me and to members of the Worship committee about the Candles of Concern and Celebration, which is so important a part of our Sunday service. On some Sundays we have had silent candles and on others we have had people speak when lighting candles.
Some love the silent candles and have said they would not come forward if they had to speak; and we have noticed that more people light candles on “Silent Sundays”.
But others have been disappointed when the use of silent candles rather than spoken has kept them from being able to share with their community important moments from their lives. The candle lighting is a kind of reaching out, a seeking of support either in time of trouble or in time of celebration that also allows us to know what is happening in the lives of our fellow congregants.
After some reflection and conversation, the Worship Committee and I have agreed to offer both kinds of candles at most services. While the mechanics have not yet been worked out, and while things may be a bit awkward in the beginning, we do want people to have both options.
There will still be some services without candles, but we seek to find ways to expand and deepen the level of sharing that takes place in the congregation.
I will also mention here that I have been approached by some people who have asked about my emphasis on the personal when introducing candles of question.
In a future column I will write about my own vision of what the candles are for: the sharing of personal moments in our lives or in the lives of loved ones. I have emphasized this as the purpose of candles rather than their use as announcements or as political or social pronouncements. But I will speak to that in greater depth at a later date.