Night fell gradually, so slowly that we didn’t notice it was coming. People of all ages had flocked to the field for AbbeyFest, an annual day-long celebration of family, faith, and music. As the light waned, so did the guitars. The songs became softer, more worshipful. And as the last rays of sun disappeared, someone lit a match down front. From hand to hand the flame was passed until the field was filled with candlelight. Four thousand faces glowed softly. Four thousand pairs of knees bent to the ground in adoration as the monstrance was brought through the crowd and up on stage.
Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood….
Matt Maher led us in the Divine Praises. In the minutes following, the only sound was the crickets in the trees and the occasional distant car. Next to me, two small children cradled their tiny flames as their father kept watch and their mother lifted hands in worship. “It was like heaven on earth,” a friend texted later.
That image returned to me this morning as I sat in prayer, all-too-conscious of the growing darkness in our world. It’s gotten hard to read the news; it overwhelms me. “Lord, have mercy on us! send your light!” I prayed. Which is when I remembered that field of tiny, flickering lights … the boy in front of me raising his candle high, waving it back and forth … the luminescent glow suffusing the crowd. And I realized: the Lord has sent his light. As Jesus told his disciples, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
The Lord has sent his light, and that light now lives in us.
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5)
It is one thing to lift the Lord high in a field of fellow-believers. Can we do the same thing in our neighborhoods, at work, at school?
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Lord, help us to burn bright with the light of your love. Give us the courage and grace we need to lift our small candles, to carry them out into the world where they can puncture the darkness around us.
© 2019 Sarah Christmyer