Sunday night, we watched the movie Amazing Grace. It is an incredible story and a well-made movie about William Wilberforce, the man behind the abolition of slavery in the British Empire as well as many other social changes in England. There is a lot to be said about this movie, but this post is about one thing that stuck out to me this time.
In one part of the movie, William is lighting candles, and the way in which he does it seemed meaningful to me. He took a new taper candle, lit it from the almost-gone candle that had filled the candle holder, melted the bottom of the new candle from the flame of the old one, and then carefully put the new one in the place of the old candle, putting out the old flame in the process.
As I watched him do it over and over again, it seemed to be a little picture of the way the flame of the Gospel- the good news of Jesus- is passed on from one generation to the next. The flame does not exist because of any greatness of either candle, but because they are created to hold the flame. The flame is passed from the mostly-used candle to the new candle by one completely external to both candles. The faithfulness, so to speak, of the old candle allows the new candle to be easily lit, and it is the melted wax of the old candle and the softness of the new candle (from the flame of the old candle) that allows them to fill the same need.
That was a long and wordy paragraph, but as I think about this last year and especially the older people who have died, I pray and believe that my generation is willing to step into those places where light is needed. We neither exist, nor serve our faithful Father, in a vacuum. We are privileged to step into large “shoes” or candle holders and blessed to receive a strong flame of faith. May we be faithful to the end!