Week Four: Wednesday
An old, old story goes like this:
Once upon a time, a young king desired to build the biggest, most magnificent, cathedral in all of Europe. He spared no cost in workmanship and in construction, and people came from far and near to watch the progress. Gold, marble, frescoes, mosaics, silver, the finest woods—all of these were part of his offering to God, and the people were amazed.
Some decades later, when the king was elderly and the cathedral completed, the king proclaimed that the first worship service would be held that next Sunday. Again, people traveled from distant countries and from nearby towns to see the finished cathedral in which hundreds could worship. But as they streamed in, both the rich and the poor, the prominent and the common, they all noticed one thing: there were no sconces for light. How could the king, how could the builders, having spent all that time and money, overlooked a need for light? What a ridiculous waste.
Then the old king stood before the congregation and made an announcement. He said, “I understand that you have noticed there are no sconces to hold the torches in this grand cathedral. That is not a mistake, for I desire that each person, rich or poor, stranger or neighbor, who enters this place bring a candle. When someone is missing, no matter who that person might be, the light will be dimmer. However, when all are here, the light will be ablaze. That is how we will recognize that the Light is truly among us.”
As we have journeyed together toward the Light these past few weeks, this old story sums up its significance. Yes, alone one candle can make a difference. When it is lit, it can illuminate shadows, but when it is absent, the shadows are deeper. We are called to notice those whose candles have gone out, no matter who they are, rich and poor, prominent and common, like us and different from us, and then offer our own light. We are also called to pool together all our communal candles, rich and poor, stranger and neighbor, and together illuminate the world, bringing healing, hope, and love. That is our communal offering to the Creator, to the Universe, to the Christ-Light, and in doing so, the people will be amazed. May we strengthen and encourage each other to shine what candles we possess in whatever way we can and so transform the world. Blessings to you.