Beyond Wood and Stone

Rev. Elisabeth's Cedar Park Blog site

Month: March 2016

Easter’s New Candle

A ‘new to us’ tradition at Cedar Park in recent years is the lighting of a new Christ Candle, and procession of light at the beginning of our Easter Sunday Worship. In many Christian traditions, both of the East and West,  the church is plunged into darkness on Good Friday, to signify the death of Christ. Then, in the dark hours of Easter Saturday/Sunday a new Christ candle is kindled, and then processed through a dark church towards the front, where it will stay for the coming year.

We don’t (yet) gather for a night Vigil at CPU, but this powerful procession of light is such a rich way of marking the Resurrection, and the release of the Light of Christ once more into the world.

We are blessed in the United Church with a freedom to adopt, adapt and create rituals which feed our spiritual imaginations.  This one has always been very powerful for me, and I hope it will become a cherished part of our Easter Celebrations.

Meanwhile, darkness descends, this Easter Saturday, and we wait……

Below is a sonnet written for Maundy Thursday, by British poet Malcolm Guite.

Maundy Thursday is so called, from the latin word “Mandatum” meaning command.  The way John tells it in his Gospel (chapter 13), Jesus met with his disciples for a last, loving supper, where he blessed and broke bread, and blessed and shared the cup. During that last supper,  he bent to wash the feet of  his disciples, which resulted then, as it does now, in a ‘conversation’ about the true nature of love. In his body, and actions, Jesus showed them/us that love is concerned for the other, love is often manifest in acts of generous, compassionate service – like soothing clean the dusty feet.  In case we missed the significance of his embodied, sensory, teaching, Jesus also said (13:34) “A new commandment I give you; that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”

In many traditions, a rite of footwashing is observed on “Commandment Thursday”  so that we can experience in our own flesh what it might mean for us to love the world, and those close to us, “just as” Jesus has loved us.

Now, sit for a while with Malcolm Guite’s poem….

Here is the source of every sacrament,

The all-transforming presence of the Lord,

Replenishing our every element

Remaking us in his creative Word.

For here the earth herself gives bread and wine,

The air delights to bear his Spirit’s speech,

The fire dances where the candles shine,

The waters cleanse us with His gentle touch.

And here He shows the full extent of love

To us whose love is always incomplete,

In vain we search the heavens high above,

The God of love is kneeling at our feet.

Though we betray Him, though it is the night.

He meets us here and loves us into light.


Skip to toolbar