If you worship in the main sanctuary on the Leawood Campus, you have probably noticed the candles that are there for you to light as you walk in.  The warm glow of a flame is an enduring symbol of the Trinity.  God led Moses and the Israelites through the wilderness in a pillar of fire by night to give them light to travel through the dark nights. Our acolytes bring the light of Christ into the sanctuary during each worship service. During Advent we light candles as a sign of the coming light of Christ,  and  through Holy week, the days leading up to Good Friday, we extinguish the light, symbolizing the darkness of  sin in the world.  Our symbol of the United Methodist Church, http://abortionwiki.org/images/a/a1/United_methodist_church_logo_abortion.gif   the flame of the Holy Spirit is positioned next to the cross.   Today in worship, we will hear how the Holy Spirit appeared like individual flames of fire alighting on each one of the people worshipping together in that early house church on the day of Pentecost.

We also light candles to welcome God into our times of personal prayer, and there are so many ways that we acknowledge the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in the regular times of our lives. We light candles for hope when someone is ill, for peace during wartime and for times of celebration like birthday candles or the unity candle in weddings.  We light candles as a meaningful way to honor the memory of a loved one, dear friend or patient. This week I invite you to light a candle with intention as a part of your prayer practice. Here is a prayer you can say as you do so.

You love me.
You are my Maker.
You Know me.
You dance in and out
of my footsteps.
God, Light of the universe,
shine in me.

You love me.
You are my friend.
You know me.
You challenge my darkness.
Jesus, Light the streets
around me,
shine in me.

You love me.
You hug me.
You are closer to me
than breathing.
you give me hope and courage.
Holy Spirit, Light of my journey,
shine in me.
–Ruth Burgess in Prayers for Lighting Candles, Wild Goose publications.

There is a Quaker saying, “it’s far better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” This week as people of faith, let us remember, we need to be in the business of lighting candles.

–Nancy Pauls, Pastor of Prayer