Dear Friends in Christ,
During Advent of last year I came across a Lenten wreath. It seems to come from the Presbyterian tradition and is very similar to Tenebrae. Six or seven candles are lit, with one extinguished each week as Lent progresses. Diminishing light on the way to the cross of Good Friday.
There are a few examples online and one was offered via Amazon for over $50.00, far too much! I decided to make my own and in a local store discovered the perfect wooden candle ring that holds five candles, one for each Sunday in Lent. A wooden base provides space for small rocks and a spinning tealight candle holder with butterflies placed in the center. (One was also made for Sunday morning Christian formation with a small cross in the center instead of butterflies.)
The Lenten wreath began on Ash Wednesday and after some thought, I chose to maintain the Advent practice of lighting a candle each week instead of extinguishing them. If Lenten disciplines have been maintained, enlightenment is sure to follow. Gazing at the Lenten wreath while meditating is one Lenten discipline that has enhanced this season. The white candle with spinning butterflies represents a malleable chrysalis. Churning occurs in the absence of light, but new light and life is born a butterfly. The season of Lent provides just enough time to start a new habit, prune that which is unhealthy, and make space for the Resurrection.
Today is the feast of the Annunciation, a reminder of God’s providence which is not confined to the biblical text.
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.”
Luke 1:26-38 (NRSV)
“For nothing will be impossible for God.”
Therefore, it is not too late to observe “a holy Lent by self-examination and repentance; by prayer fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.” (BCP)
The video shows my Lenten wreath. The fifth candle, barely noticeable on the backside will be lit tomorrow, the fifth Sunday in Lent. There is real-time speed at the beginning and end, but slow motion in-between. The latter represents the intentionality of the season, saying yes to God by stepping away from the world’s carousel and into the light of Christ. It is not too late.
With prayers for a meaningful Lent and Holy Week,