Easter to Pentecost – The Light of Christ

Pastoral Reflections

Easter is, without doubt, the most joyous season of the Christian year. The victorious singing. The bells ringing. The hallelujahs are sprinkled throughout the liturgy. Morning Prayer includes at least one Easter anthem. The colors are white or gold demonstrating the brightness of the season. Decorations emphasize the spirit of celebration. The Paschal Candle, usually lighted on the dawn of Easter Sunday, remains prominent throughout the season.
 
Well, this weekend we conclude the Easter season and the church year pivots us to Pentecost. The liturgy will have us extinguish the Paschal Candle. In some traditions, this is observed on Ascension Day. A bishop was once approached by his clergy who debated whether the candle should be extinguished at Ascension or Pentecost. The bishop asked in reply, “Do you really want to know what I think?”
 “Of course,” they said, “we do want to know what you think.”
To that the bishop answered, “If it were left to me, that candle will be left lighted all year round.” Obviously, he said that with a speck of humor, but he wanted to pass across to his clergy that Christ’s light is indeed always lighted.
 
This Sunday, as we step into Pentecost and extinguish the Paschal Candle at the end of the service, it does not imply that Christ’s light has been put out. What the liturgy seeks to teach us is that the Light of Christ now separates at Pentecost and rests upon us individually by the coming of the Spirit.
 
Through us the Spirit takes the light of Easter into the dark corners of our world. Through us the Spirit takes the refining fire of Easter into our broken world, redeeming that which is of the Lord, burning that which is of evil. Through us He takes the hope and comfort of Easter into an unsettled and grieving world. We enter the world as bearers of Christ’s light.
 
And do not forget; in every season, each Sunday is a celebration of Easter. Alleliua!
Please note that due to the nature of summer schedules,
Pastoral Reflections will take a break from now until September.
Donald Nwankwo
The Light of Christ Anglican Church
4000 W. Yale Ave.
Denver, CO 80219