From the Pastor’s Desk
Light is a universal symbol for God and truth. Throughout Scripture, references to light defeating darkness and overcoming it abound.
In movie-making, a famous phrase is “lights, camera, action!” It is a reminder that nothing happens until the lights hit the scene. It is the light that makes it possible for the camera to capture the action happening on set. It is the light that helps the details come to life. It is the light that makes colors vibrant and reveals things previously not seen. Lighting makes all the difference in movies and it makes all the difference in worship.
In worship, light plays a similar role. Most Christian worship services have light and many of them feature candles to represent the light of Christ. This light is a reminder that God is present when we worship, that His light not only illuminates our daily lives but leads us in worship to a closer experience with Him. The candles are usually placed on the altar or on stands so they can be clearly seen by those who are in worship. They are often placed prominently front and center to remind us that God is the center of our worship and devotion, that He is the reason we come together as the body of Christ.
The light is usually brought in from the back of the sanctuary. An acolyte brings in the light and has the awesome responsibility of initiating the worship to God in the service. The word “acolyte” goes back to the Greek root akolouthos, meaning “follower,” and it came into English in the 14th century. The chief offices of an acolyte are to light the candles on the altar and to assist the pastor in beginning and closing the service. Technically, the service does not begin until the light of Christ is brought to the altar signifying God’s presence and it does not end until the acolyte carries the light from the altar back out into the world. This physically represents what each of us is to do with the light of Christ in our own lives. We are to carry it out into the world for all to see.
So performing the office of an acolyte is more than just lighting candles … it is part of our worship and a vivid reminder of our commitment to follow Christ and be bearers of his light. The first two Sundays in October, I will be training acolytes to serve. They will learn that they are a part of the worship team and crucially important in our worship service. When you see them performing their duties, I pray you will be inspired to carry the light of Christ with you wherever you go so that all can see that you are a follower of Jesus.
“No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.” – Matthew 5:15 (New Revised Standard Version)
Prayer for the Day: Lord, help me be a light in the darkness so that people can see you. Amen.
-By Pastor Miguel