by Jerilyn Hassell Pool
Tonight, on the eve of Easter Sunday, our ward held a candle ceremony to observe of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We gathered as a ward family in the parking lot of our ward building and waited for the darkness of night to fall. Candles were distributed to everyone who wanted one. We formed a circle and opened the ceremony with a prayer. Our bishop spoke about the Savior. Scripture passages were read by three girls from our ward.
Isaiah 55:1-13 was read by Milayna, a 12 year old girl.
1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leaderand commander to the people.
5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, andnations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lordthy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your waysmy ways, saith the Lord.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Micah 7:8 was read by Jenna, an 8 year old girl.
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.
3 Nephi 11:3-12 was read by Grace, a 20 year old girl (also, my daughter).
3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a smallvoice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
5 And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did opentheir ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
8 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
11 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
12 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.
A fire was lit in the center of our circle and our Relief Society president lit her candle from the fire and returned to the circle to light the candles held by the people on either side of her. The candlelight started to travel around the circle as friends lit the candles of friends and parents lit the candles of their children. While the candles were lit, our bishop read 27 Psalm.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? theLord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
When the candlelight came to me, a breeze kicked up and my candle didn’t light easily. We spent several minutes in silence. Children that had been excited and active settled down, mesmerized by the candlelight. The breeze threatened the candles of everyone in the circle, and I was struck with the following thoughts:
I need to protect my flame, but if my candle goes out, it can be easily relit by anyone in the circle, or even by going to the original fire.
The fire in the center was magnificent and captivating, and the portion of that fire carried by each member of our ward family bound us together in ritual, and illuminated us individually with warmth and beauty.
The fire in the center represents the light of Christ, and each of us carry a portion of that light in ourselves. We are illuminated by Christ. That light can be seen from a great distance by those who know what they are looking for.
If I lose my faith, if I lose the comforting warmth and radiant light of Christ, I can turn to my ward family to help me rekindle the flame.
Relighting my flame is not a job only suited for my bishop, my Relief Society president, or my home teacher, it’s something that I can ask anyone I trust to help me with. Even children. Especially children.
Members of my ward are also struggling to keep their flames lit and if I keep my flame well-protected, I’ll be in a position to help them.
The original flame didn’t struggle in the breeze. It was strong and big enough that we could feel its warmth. Even if the breeze had extinguished every candle in the circle, that flame was enough to relight every candle, as many times as needed, for as long as we needed it.
After several minutes of reflection and silence, Mike Barker was asked to share his testimony. He bore a beautiful testimony of Jesus of Nazareth and the women who met him when he rose from the dead.
We sang Abide with Me, ’Tis Eventide and closed the evening with a prayer.
Abide with me; ’tis eventide.The day is past and gone;The shadows of the evening fall;The night is coming on.Within my heart a welcome guest,Within my home abide.O Savior, stay this night with me;Behold, ’tis eventide.O Savior, stay this night with me;Behold, ’tis eventide.