Lighting a Candle
It wasn’t until very recently when I had to try and explain, summarise what lighting a candle in church means, so to try and help anybody visiting our web site or indeed going into any church here goes.
Well for me it means and symbolises a lot of things, and for one of my usual explanations on a topic I’m going to make no apologies if some of my own ideas and beliefs find their way in.
So, you come into St Francis and make your way to the first alter, if you look both sides, you’ll see black t-lights holders. One on the left is beside our statue of Mary, and on the right there are two, one beside the stature of St Francis, our patron saint and a small round holder beside our chantry book, (this is the book where we’ve recorded the names of our love ones who have passed, the pages are turned on a daily basis)
For us here at St Francis you’ll find t-lights in these holders, but in other churches and denominations you might find other sizes and shapes of candles ready to be lit to be placed in plan holders or in some cases such as cathedrals very ornate holders.
So, why would I light a candle in church I hear you ask?
Well, for me and everybody that lights a candle, it’s an act of prayer, perhaps lighting up or highlighting a prayer, a visual representation if you will, perhaps for the worshipper themselves or for other people, perhaps giving thanks for a special occasion or arrival, perhaps asking for guidance or help over a difficult decision, perhaps asking for a watchful eye over a loved one during some sort of treatment or sickness, coping with a mental or physical burden, or maybe if travelling or in many cases, praying for a loved one who has recently departed.
In some instances we are thanking God, giving praise and in some instances we are asking God for help and perhaps asking for understanding and reassurance, however in my opinion no prayer is too big or too small or inconsequential, if it affects us, God will be there to help.
In other denominations such as in a Catholic church candles are lit and sometimes placed before a statue of Jesus, or the Virgin Mary or indeed some other saint, and in which case the person is seeking or asking help from that particular saint before whose image the candle is lit.
In the Orthodox Church they only use long thin candles, and are placed in round containers with readymade sockets to hold the candles or a container filled with sand, these churches have a separate place to put the candle lit for the departed, whereas the Anglican and Catholic Churches there is no distinction.
The more you delve in to why we light candles in church, the more you are likely to come across in-depth meanings, all very valid, however at the beginning I did say that I make no apologies for my own ideas, so in my opinion all our delights, concerns, worries or indeed sadness’s can be brought before God, he won’t judge, what I know is, it will help, this simple act of lighting a candle, the light from the flame bringing us joy in our hour of sadness, bringing us answers to our dilemmas, bringing us hope in our hour darkness and all this can be brought about by lighting one tiny candle.