Blowing the Candles Out

I respond well to a dare.  I take it as a challenge — and I tend to like the push toward moving past a challenge.  

So, it was.  A few weeks ago, only days before Lent began, I was challenged to try something this Lent. To experiment in worship.  To take a risk.  I pushed myself to ask that question.  And in the end, I choose to go with the light.  Or rather, I chose to extinguish the light.  I like the symmetry that it has to the journey into issues of death and dying that our congregation is taking this season.  After the First Sunday of Lent, I like it a bit more than when I presented it to members of our church.  I liked hearing these words on the lips of an 11-year old boy.  I liked how it felt to hear him speak these italicized words that are guiding us through the season.  I liked how I heard something totally different in these words when they were spoken by a youth.  And so, I offer you this liturgy in the hope that it might bring deeper meaning into your Lenten season.

This liturgy is written for the six Sundays of Lent. For each Sunday, there is one purple pillar candle arranged in a line on the altar. The candles start all lit in the beginning of worship. Each Sunday, one candle is extinguished so that all candles are extinguished on the last Sunday of Lent. This liturgy would be the same for each Sunday and would be included where the unison prayer would usually be in the order of worship. Lay members would be invited to lead this simple liturgy.

Call to the Light
One:               It is holy time as we fade into darkness.  In this holy time, we go to see what will die with Jesus.  Testing the limits of justice, we look for light.  Calling to the powers of this world, we claim our light.  Lamenting the violence and destruction of this world, we believe that more light will shine.  Living in the light of God, we know that our fire does not go out.  Disappointing in the deaths that didn’t have to be, we look for renewal.  Longing for peace, we imagine how our fire will be rekindled. 

Extinguishing the Candle
One:           As these candles are snuffed out, we look into each other’s hearts and hands for the hope of the world.

[Candle is extinguished.]

Moment of Silence

Unison Prayer

One:           Let us pray together:

O Light of Our World, give us strength to face the things we fear.  As we move closer to our own death, with Jesus by our side, let us be the light that your world needs; in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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