Saturday, March 30, 2013

This is the night!

Tonight is the biggest night in the liturgical calendar.  Tonight, we will gather in churches, seminaries, and congregations around the world to keep vigil as we await the resurrection dawn.  We will tell our greatest stories, light the New Fire, remember our baptism, and feast around the table.

Even though this is my senior year at LSTC, and even though I've been on chapel staff for two of the years I've been here, this is the first time I'll be participating in LSTC's Easter Vigil service.  Because I'm the sacristan, there's been a lot for me to do to prepare for tonight, and I'm eager to begin this great celebration as we gather with two local congregations to share in my favorite night of the year.

Because of experiences a number of us had at Holden Village in January (Did I tell you about Holden?  No? I should do that soon...), I've fallen in love with using candles that are made of pure beeswax.  At Holden, we used 100% beeswax tapers for evening and night prayer, and somehow they made us feel more connected to God's creation.  Maybe it's because they smell like honey, or maybe its because their golden hue seems more natural and less processed by human intervention.  So, when we returned back to campus in February, I began plotting ways we could use more of this kind of wax in our worship at LSTC.

Behold, the 100% beeswax Paschal Candle, to be lit tonight at the Easter Vigil!

It's the little things in life, isn't it?

This candle, along with new beeswax altar candles and tapers, has got me very excited.  In the Exsultet, which is sung tonight, we will hear these words:  "We sing the glories of this pillar of fire, the brightness of which is not diminished even when its light is divided and borrowed.  For it is fed by the melting wax which the bees, your servants, have made for the substance of this candle."

When I hear those words, I'll be happy knowing that the pillar of fire is, indeed, fed by the work of bees.  I could go on for hours talking about why I think using pure beeswax is the best way to go, but the simple fact that this is a candle that we know comes from the most natural of sources is enough for me to feel more connected to God's creation on this holy night.

(P.S.  If you want some beeswax yourself, look up some Greek Orthodox monasteries here in the US.  They do great work!)

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