My Sabbath Candle

My Sabbath Candle

Apr 25, 2017

by Herbert E. Saunders

Madison SDB Church, WI

Many years ago, I had the privilege of attending a seminar on the meaning of Sabbath conducted by Robert Raines at the retreat center of Kirkridge in Eastern Pennsylvania. During the course of the weekend we were asked to spend several hours in silence, letting the power of God’s presence and Holy Spirit come upon us in reflection and praise. One half hour we were asked to focus attention on one particular object and glean from our awareness of it something of a commentary of our own lives.

I chose a large candle sitting in the middle of the room that had been lit as the Sabbath (my Seventh Day Sabbath) had begun and continued to shine through the night and day. It was nearing sundown, and several images came to me as I observed the candle.

• Looking straight down upon it I noticed the reflection of the flame on the melted wax – but a particle of dust made the reflection break.

• The windows of the room were double-pane and caused a double reflection from the candle.

• I put my hand over the candle and felt its warmth — it stood on a stand that had the shapes of circles and a cross at its base.

• The room had not been finished, was in a strange shape, with batting covering the ceiling (batting covered with brown paper and aluminum).

• I closed my eyes after looking at the candle for some time and saw the red glow and observed the surroundings as negatives behind the candle.

• Someone walked in front of me and stood between me and the candle. All these are shared because it helps to give understanding about the poem that I wrote which I would like to share as a statement of my faith.

A candle glowing brightly

In the intimacy of space

Images silently on the surface of molten wax

As a particle of waste distorts reflection.

May I — the image of Christ’s own light

Eliminate my particles of waste

Avoiding the imperfection of His reflection.

A candle burning brightly

In the darkness of descending sun

Throws images two-fold on windows to the world.

And I stand transfixed

As if the images are mine.

For what does the world see?

A reflection of me — ego, selfish bound

Or the two-fold image of Christ in me.

A candle moving silently

Aglow throughout my Sabbath Day

Lends warmth to my hovering hand,

Atop a stand of cross and circle

Reminding me of God’s own holy plan.

A light, warmth to a cold, cool world

Rejected by men whose darkness they preferred

Gives hope to my searching silent heart.

A candle caught glimmering

In a room of uneven shapes,

Sitting askew astride an octagon,

Points upward to unfinished work

Which both absorbs and returns its light.

To what unfinished tasks is God’s light calling me?

The melody of His absorbing grace that lets me be myself,

And the call to share the grace of light!

A candle burning images on my waiting eyes

Still glows beyond the darkness of its profile.

My searching heart awaits return to light my life

And once again bring hope and joy and peace.

What intruders come upon my daily light of life?

What profiles of darkness blot out my hopes and dreams?

May I see always beyond the grim unknown

To witness His illumination as an ever present fire

Still there when even source departs.

A candle, lit for my Sabbath Day

Brings peace to my waiting soul.

Its flame the golden glow of hope

That makes today my own.

May each new Sabbath Day find me

Transfixed in all my ways, on God

The source of Sabbath rest and peace,

My Lord, my Joy, my Life, my Light.

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