Tag Archives: relationship

It’s Just a candle flame until…

On my desk is a candle. I use it as a prayer tool. As I light it each day I repeat a prayer. It reminds my soul of who I am and what I am about in this place. They are the same words every time but they hit me as if they are a new thought… every time. That’s probably because part of the prayer is my personal commitment. It’s just a candle flame, but it’s more.

I found a great source of Candles – Quickcandles.com. Not only do they live up to their name for being “fast” but they also deliver some of the best candles I’ve ever found. They burn almost down to nothing and I’ve had a couple do that. And they burn without any incense. It’s just a candle flame… but there’s something better.

There have been times when I’ve reached over to the candle on its stand during counseling sessions. I’ve held it before the person or couple I’m counseling and I’ve talked about blowing out the flame. I think of the flame as trust. It’s just a flame until it is blown out.candle 2

Trust is like a candle flame that gives light to all that are in the room. It provides guidance, assurance, strength of easy movement, comfort and even a gentle warmth. When we are in relationship we find that trust builds a security within us that says we can just move and not think through everything. We have an assurance that what we expect will be there will be there when we return or simply turn around.

I’ve lifted the candle up to teenagers who have been joyriding and can’t see what the big deal is. I’ve lifted the candle up to partners in businesses, to bosses and employees. I’ve lifted the candle up to husbands or wives. I’ve lifted the candle up to parents and to other pastors and to young adults and to elderly and to church leaders. I’ve lifted up the candle and blown it out in front of each of them.

It’s only a candle flame until it is gone and then it is this very large thing that will never be again. That’s trust isn’t it? It’s as fragile as a candle flame. For its size it can do amazingly good things, but when it is gone we don’t ever get it back and suddenly its true import, size and strength are felt. The flame that was there, once gone, is completely gone. To get flame again, one must start from the beginning and it isn’t like just pulling out our butane and relighting it. The flame that is added to the candle in our souls and called “trust” must be rekindled from scratch.

I’ve lifted the candle up to all sorts of people and every morning in my office I lift it up to myself and light it and say my simple prayer and something takes hold of my insides. Candle 1And then it says, “All right now. Do it.”

Consider the Lilies…

What’s your image of abundance? abundance 1What comes to mind when you think of abundant life? For some people it is money and we’re told on a regular basis that money satisfies all needs… but is money life? abundance 2Is it really the thing that makes the “world go around?”

I think it is interesting to think through “abundance” from the point of view of “enough.” Take “enough” as an image to hold in your mind for a little bit. What would enough feel like to you? If you had enough clothes to get through a year of weather changes – something light to wear in the summer, something warm to wear in the winter, something that made you feel cool to wear… whatever… what if you had enough so that you were covered, comfortable and capable of moving through the days. And suppose you had enough food. You have a choice of vegetables, main dishes, special sides, desserts with which to have little simple celebrations of days or a week, but you were fed. And add on enough space in which to live – clean, dry, warm, cool, safe. And then there are people to know – friends, relations, new and interesting people who have ideas or frank advice. And suppose you also had work – a job that assisted people to get through life, to get things clear up, or in place or just feeling better about themselves – and by your work you fed others, cheered up others, made others feel significant.

What if your food, your clothes, your habitat, your relationships and your labor were filling up your days in a reasonable, steady manner? What if your life had enough? Would that be a picture of abundance? Is “enough” the same as “abundance?”

I was watching a report on wealth and a woman was presented who had somehow – by selling a company or creating an idea someone bought – made $23million. She was wealthy she said. That’s how she described herself until someone asked, “Well, do you own your own plane?” She checked into it and discovered that even with $23 million she still wasn’t really in a position to own her own plane. And she said she was “suddenly impoverished.” She didn’t have enough in life… even with $23million.

What’s your picture of “abundance?” What do you see in your mind’s eye? I’m going to spend the rest of this week taking pictures of abundance, just things that capture my attention and make me think of life being abundant. We’re looking at abundant Life at First Presbyterian in Lancaster, PA. If you’re around and want to bring your pictures of abundance, do that. Bring pictures of abundance with you on Sunday or send them to me here and I’ll see what I can do to get them printed out.

For me this is just an exercise in crediting marvels, in observing what I’m seeing. I want to take some time to see how much of enough it takes to make abundant? How much enough is there in abundant? I’m hoping I’ll see and understand abundant better.