Sermon: Great Vigil

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Not a sermon, but a sermonette…

One of my favorite stories of the Desert Fathers – those men who lived in the deserts of North Africa during the 300s and dedicated their lives to God – tells of the time Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, ‘Abba as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?’ then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, ‘If you will, you can become all flame.’ You can become all flame.

“The light of Christ.” Those were the words I chanted this evening as the Paschal candle was processed in. Robert Alden, a minister in the Congregational Church, wrote, “There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle.” However, this evening, we did not leave this work of defeating the darkness to just one candle. As the candle was processed up the aisle, you each lit your own candle, further pushing out the darkness.

Those flames of our candles represent to us the light of Christ that burns in each one of us, demonstrating that as we go about the work of Christ, we begin to spread that flame to the world around us. We become instruments of His grace in a world that desperately needs it. Therefore, we must guard and nurture the flame that within us. We must care for it, seeing to it that it is not allowed diminish or flicker out.

Little Jane had listened to a sermon on “Let Your Light Shine.” The only part she remembered was the text, but she didn’t understand what it meant until her mother explained in terms she could understand, “It means being good, obedient, and cheerful.” In the afternoon there was trouble in the nursery, and Jane excused herself for being naughty by saying, “I’ve blowed myself out.”

Don’t blow yourself out and don’t let the world around you suffocate the light that is within you. Instead become all flame and set the world on fire.

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