Reflection on Mark 4.21-25

Jesus said: Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand?

At the Easter Vigil a new fire is lit. That new fire is then used to light our Easter Candles, the candles that will shine out with the light of the risen Christ for the whole of the following year. Our Easter Candles take pride of place for the next fifty days. Until the Day of Pentecost they stand next to our altar tables, reminding us of the joyous season we should be experiencing in every aspect of our lives. After the Day of Pentecost, when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in wind and flame, our Easter Candles are moved to stand alongside the fonts in our churches. Until the next Easter Vigil they are only lit at baptisms and funerals. These ancient rituals may seem odd to some, but they contain within them the heart of today’s message.

Jesus walked this earth, and his light shone out for all to see. His conquering of death was a unique moment in human history, a moment in which an inextinguishable flame was lit. That eternal flame should not be hidden away, rather it should be placed in a prominent place and shine out for all to see. From our Easter Vigil until the Day of Pentecost that light is represented by our special candles. As they stand at the front of our churches they act as a constant reminder of the light which both guides and guards. Then, on the Day of Pentecost, we receive the power of the Holy Spirit. The flame, the light of God, falls upon us, filling us with the light and life of God. The Easter Candle moves to stand, unlit, by the font as we take on the responsibility of shining out in Christ’s name. The Easter Candles are lit again only at those moments when a Christian life begins (baptism) and when a life ends. At those moments we cannot exist in our own strength, and that tangible reminder of Christ’s resurrection shines out as a reminder, as a consolation and as inspiration for us to continue our faithful journey in this world.

Let us pray that Christ’s light may ever shine out through our words and actions. Let us pray that we might never seek to cloak Christ’s light. Let us pray that others may be dazzled by that light and that their own journey of faith may be fanned into flame.