(This is my latest article for Columns from Georgetown Presbyterian Church…. I love how simple actions we do on a regular basis can have meanings more profound than we realize!)
With the arrival of fall, I often think of how different the light looks this time of year. There’s a certain golden glow to the sunshine and a slant to the way the light falls on the earth. It makes me feel excited about the changing of the season, but also comfortable and cozy. It’s amazing to experience the power of light, to feel its effects.
Over the past several months, we’ve been enriched with the return of our acolyte ministry at GPC. On Sunday mornings, these children and youth don a white liturgical robe and, during the first hymn, bring the “light” up the aisle to the two candles on the communion table. At the end of worship, during the last hymn, they carry the light back down the aisle and out of the sanctuary. Their work of bringing the light in and carrying it back out is more than an elegant-looking movement to grace our times of worship. It’s beautifully symbolic of the Light of the World, Jesus, coming into our worship gathering—and into our world—to be with us and, then, calling us to go back out into the world and be the light for others. A powerful image!
Another powerful image is the fact that we have two candles that are lit on our communion table. In the earlier years of the Church, these candles would have been present to help the priest or pastor see to read the liturgy! Over time, though, people also began to associate the two candles with the dual nature of Jesus—mysteriously and at the same time, human and divine.
Our acolytes, then, help us to experience the Gospel message in action. They testify every Sunday that Jesus, fully human and fully divine, is the Light of the World and calls us to follow him into our world—a place of beauty and mess, light and shadow, pain and joy. Let’s remember to watch our acolytes as they minister next Sunday morning. May our eyes follow the movement of the flame. May we be comforted by the light’s presence. And may we go with the Light as we return to the world.