So, ok, the title is a pun. By “dig” I first mean that I enjoy thinking theologically and I love talking theology. Be careful, I will suck you into a discussion of Scripture or doctrine and then 20 minutes of your life will be gone.
By “dig” I also mean that I love digging into matters of faith. Those discussion I suck you into really are important to me. As we dig deeper, I am often amazed at different perspectives, thoughts and opinions of faith. I enjoy pushing and being pushed on God matters.
Which brings me to our Good Friday service. As you remember the last half of the service revolved around the Seven Last Words of Jesus. As we read each “word” we blew out a candle.
I made the last minute decision not to blow out the 7th candle. We left it burning. My intention was to nonverbally affirm that Christ is always with us. Even though the Son of God died on that terrible day, He continues to be in our hearts and in the church.
Interestingly enough, as we debriefed the Holy Week services at our weekly staff meeting, we had a long discussion about that last candle. It was expressed, that leaving it lit did not allow us to feel the finality of the awful / wonderful moment of Christ’s death for the forgiveness of sins. Another said, leaving it lit maintained the hope we need between Friday and Resurrection morning. As a practical theological matter, having as the candle burned, we did not have a signal that the service was over and we could leave. On the other hand, that stay or leave discomfort, indecision was what they must have felt around the cross that first Good Friday, and deepened the experience.
Also, interestingly enough, we had almost the exact same discussion about the 7th candle at our Worship, Arts, and Prayer Commission Meeting last night. GREAT STUFF!!!
Then, Sid Hough said something that shocked me and say, “OH WOW, THAT’S GREAT!”
She said, “Leaving the last candle lit reminded me of Advent.”
My first reaction was “Huh?”
Then she explained and I am paraphrasing her. She reminded me that we lit the white Christ candle each Sunday of Advent as we in turn lit the four Advent Candles. We did so, because I (Steve) feel that even though we are waiting for the coming of Christ, Christ has already come and saved us forever. Sid said, that is went through her head as she looked at that last candle on Good Friday. Christ has saved us forever. Christ is always here.
As I said, “Wow!” I wish I had thought through that theology to have intended that birth and death connection.
However, all of this does not answer whether or not we will blow out the 7th candle next year or leave it lit. I don’t know.
What do you think?
And be advised, if tell me what you think, you just might lose 20 minutes of your life to a theological discussion.