Ancient Practices


I find myself drawn increasingly to the ancient trappings of Christianity. To the things that my protestant forebears discarded, rejected, even lambasted. And yet…

I find, as with most things that a little goes a long way. The thing you use only becomes a problem when it surpasses the purpose itself.

I was speaking to a friend the other day, and felt the call to pray for her. To actively pray for her, to accomplish something, to reach to the heavens. I recalled a portion of Sarah Bessey’s new book in which her Pentecostal self remembers reaching out to liturgical practices as a way to see God anew. And so I found myself lighting a candle. And as I lit, I prayed. And as the flame rose, I prayed. And every time I saw the candle, I prayed. And every time I saw the candle, I was reminded of it’s constant burning, taking my prayer up to God in the minutes I was not making an offering.

The candle burns, and like sweet smelling incense my prayer is carried beyond my lips, beyond my heart, and into the world around.

The candle burns, and I am drawn back time and again to that same prayer. To offer up my sweet friend to our Lord.

The lighting of the candle only becomes a problem when I feel that the candle is the link between myself and God, when I forget that Jesus destroyed those barriers, that I may now come freely to him.

I will not say, “I will light a candle for you.” But I will say “I will pray for you,” and now that may often involve a candle. The prayer is the thing.

So I will light my candles. I will offer up my prayers. I will feel connected to those who have prayed and lit candles before me. And every time I glance that way, I see the candle, and lift my voice and heart in prayer.


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