On Sunday, rather than lighting the peace candle, worship leader Becca Lachman invited us to place our hand over our heart and imagine the peace candle as a light within us. It’s a prayerful gesture one can access any time. Later in the service there were many candles burning as we came forward and named dear ones who have died, each flame a life whose love lives on in us. I can still picture those candles, and still hear the affection in the voices speaking those names.
In looking at the worship calendar for November, it’s a month of small gestures pregnant with meaning. This coming Sunday will include an opportunity to receive prayers and blessing for healing through anointing with oil. The oil isn’t magic, but it is real, a felt presence that marks an expressed hope. On the 19th we’ll take up a collection of canned goods, filling and surrounding our worship table with food for neighbors in need. The final Sunday of November is also the final week of the liturgical year, known as Reign of Christ Sunday. We’ll mark this by sharing in Communion. Then we begin again with Advent.
Rituals and small gestures like these are one of the treasures of the church. They are dense with meaning. They can serve as anchors and light posts.
A candle is a life, remembered and still burning. A touch of oil is a prayer, meeting us at our deepest longing. A can of food is a meal and a call to open handed generosity. Bread and cup proclaim that we, even we, are a part of the body of Christ, through whom the Divine makes small gestures to the world that love is lord of heaven and earth.