the view from the pew 5-9-16

If I was an outsider and happened upon this weekly piece, I’d assume the author might be a 7th Day Adventist, being that they meet for service on Saturdays only. It’s another Saturday night (5-7-16) and Susan and I are left side, 2/3rds of the way back doing our Lutheran calisthenics. Up, down, look up to sing, look down to pray, pass the plate this way, have it come back the other way, walk up for communion, hold my wife’s hand, then walk back to the pew and the moment I sit down, Pastor Sattler raises his arms for us to rise again. But we do that every service so that’s not what’s on my mind.

I’m sitting counting candle flames. The two sets of ‘office lights’ (seven each) on the back of the altar, two Eucharistic lights on the table of the altar (because of this evening’s The Lord’s Supper) and the sanctuary lamp. This is kept in a red case and hangs from the ceiling. It is meant to represent the continual existence of God (Exodus 27:20-21; Matthew 28:20). I find my self wincing, just a little bit, when I look at it. Years ago, Susan was part of the Altar Guild. She would see to it that the office light candles were filled with oil, the altar cloths were clean and fresh, that enough cups were filled for communion. Every once in a great while we would change the candle in the sanctuary lamp. She would let me take care of that, and I would be very delicate with it, especially to make sure the flame didn’t go out, that the same light transferred easily from it to the next candle (they last about a week or so). I know God is present even if the flame goes out, I’m not stupid, but it’s important (to me, at least) to keep the spirit of effort alive. One day during a Bible study between services I was watching other ladies working at the altar. One of the older ladies took the sanctuary candle down, took it out if its case, blew it out, replaced it, lit it and put it back.

(( sigh ))

That’s all. Just (( sigh )).

Ever since then when I look at that red candle I’ve feel like the kid in A Christmas Story who deciphered the puzzle only to find out it was an advertisement.

Just (( sigh )).

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