One of the things about the Christian church calendar that is a bit weird, is that down here at the bottom of the world, everything is a bit upside down and opposite. For example, Easter is meant to be all about new life and so in the Northern Hemisphere where these things originated, it is in Spring of course! Chickens, eggs, spring flowers, sunny days – these springy things all help with the idea of Jesus rising from the dead, after Winter is finished, and new life is blossoming.
But here in the southern hemisphere it is autumn, and winter is coming. The days are getting colder and darker and we hardly see much new life around. Although I have to admit, that we have had some gorgeous days, and the daffodil bulbs I planted – which aren't meant to come up until Spring, have already started poking through and there is blossom on some trees!
One of the traditions in the Anglican church is to light a white candle at Easter that reminds us that Jesus has risen, brings light and hope to the world, and is with us today and forever. Now this idea of lighting a candle is one thing that really does work here on the other side of the world! With winter and dark mornings coming, with the rest of the term ahead of us, and with so many unknowns in our world at the moment, lighting a candle is a good way to light up our lives!
The Easter candle is often called the Paschal Candle, a term that comes from the Hebrew word “Pesach” which means Passover – it was the Passover meal that Jesus and his disciples were sharing at the Last Supper. These candles have been lit since medieval times – and they used to be HUGE! One that was in the Salisbury Cathedral in England in the early 1500s was almost 11 meters tall!
We will be lighting it every chapel this term, and as we do, we will say these words:
May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds. All: Thanks be to God.
The light and the hope of the risen Christ be with you. All: And also with you.
The candle just gently burns and “is” there – it doesn't intrude; it doesn't demand to be noticed; it isn’t loud. Candles have a way of just being – of just being present and “there” and in this way, they can give us hope and a sense of peace and comfort, and of God’s presence with us at this uncertain time.
Year 7 & 8 Chapel in the Gardens
Since the Year 7 & 8s are at Knox College this week, we decided we could have a wee chapel in the Botanical Gardens. We went to the herb garden with the fountain, and thought about Mary Magdalene coming to Jesus’ tomb on the Sunday morning to anoint his body with the special embalming herbs. The students all chose some herbs to pick and smell before we lit the Pashcal Candle. I mentioned that in some church traditions, the candle is baptised in water, so we thought about what baptism meant before we lit some floating candles and placed them in the pond. We left them there for others to enjoy!