Candles are often featured in worship. The early church used them for lighting and they were permanently stationed on or near the altar so the priest could read the service! As years passed, other means of light replaced candles and they became less functional and more symbolic during worship.
Lighting candles has long been a sacred ritual in all traditions, creating poignant moments in our own and other people's lives. They flicker and dance, producing a warm glow. And the smoke from a candle can be a visual representation of our prayers rising to God. The largest candle at Ascension is our "Paschal" candle or the Christ candle. It is to be the first lighted and the last extinguished. The "sanctuary light" remains lit whenever the sacrament is present; ours hangs from the ceiling and was recently restored.
In the past few weeks, you may have noticed additional candles in our Nave. The nook nearest the courtyard and memorial garden, originally home to our baptismal font, now has a votive candle stand. There is also a prie-dieu (kneeler) that can be used for prayers and lighting a candle. The act of kneeling, lighting a candle, and offering a prayer can be a special way to enter into worship or a nice conclusion to your time in the Nave.
As you worship in the coming weeks, I'll encourage you to take a moment to notice these different candles. If you haven't visited the new candle stand, take a moment to stop and pray.