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from Dale Chihuly, St. Petersburg, FL

I savored the weekend two week ago when we took note of the Feast of St. Brigid and Candlemas. Neither of these is part of my primary tradition of worship, but each of them struck a chord in me, of my longing for Light when the dominating motif is earth and sky seems so dark.

Brigid, the Celtic saint, is known for her keeping the flame alive. When we visited Kildare, we marveled the big space just outside the cathedral where a huge bonfire is created on her Feast Day to celebrate the Light of Christ that she carried, and wants other to keep on carrying. On Candelmas in some traditions, people of faith bring their year’s supply of candles to be used at home or in worship into sacred space to receive a blessing on the Light that will shine from them.

I look around my house and see candles perched in so many places, so that when we settle, we can light them again. Even thought they don’t provide the primary illumination by which we do our work, they are a reminder of the Light that never is put out, the Light that gives warmth, comfort and vision to all of us. As I sit writing this morning, I have lighted a candle next to me to be that reminder. It is a candle, one of a whole train of candles, that has illuminated many sacred conversations in this room, many on my computer, in which the primary focus is looking for Light and how to keep it going when the way ahead seems dark.

Tonight we take a turn into Valentine’s Day, and I am aware once again at how Love is so often the Light that brightens the darkness. I am touched when I am reminded how Love has lightened up my life—generously, gratuitously, sometimes imperfectly, sometimes lavishly, sometimes against all odds. My story is replete with family, friends, teachers, soulmates, who have brought a candle of love to my life–fat pillar candles of grace, tall thin tapers of acceptance, tea lights of laughter and joy, all letting me know that I am loved in one way or another, and all of that Love comes from the Light that never fails.

Outside the impending rain is already glowering, the headlines have heat but no clarity, but here inside our candles are alight, and as I look at them, I am reminded that neither rain nor hysteria can keep me from the Light that lights up my life, and the Love it engenders! Sacred text tells us that that Light is for me, as it was for Brigid, a kind of armor, not so that I can be in denial about the storms–atmospheric, political and interpersonal–but can be a source of energy to light the lights of others who need it. I am grateful for Love! I am grateful for Light! Shine on!

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