posted 3rd November 2015
Scilla Wallis Writes – Why Votive Candles?

This month’s regular column by Scilla in Platform Magazine about aspects of church life.

Candles are often used in church to symbolise the Light of Christ and the movement we make from darkness into that Light of Christ, as in the baptism service.

Candles can also be used within prayer. Some people like to have a lighted candle to focus on for their time of private prayer to help keep them focused. There is something quite special about a candle flame as it flickers and dances throwing off patterns of light and shadow.

Sometimes candles can be used as a tangible representation of our prayer. It is common to light candles in memory of a loved one and can be a comforting flame of hope amidst the darkness of loss. It could also represent a prayer of thanksgiving for the good times you shared or even a plea to God to keep them safe in his everlasting light.

At times finding the right words to say is too difficult and then the action of lighting the candle can become a prayer in itself representing the thoughts and feelings of the heart, which we are told God knows already (Psalm 139). I seem to have dwelt on the difficult times but candles can also be lit for prayers of thanksgiving and rejoicing.

At St Matthews we have a votive candle stand situated to the right of the dais. There is always a supply of candles available for anyone who wishes to light one to enhance their prayer, before or after a service, or when returning from communion. Or maybe you just want to come in quietly during open church to make your prayer and light a candle.

Any donations for the candles are given to St Catherine’s Hospice.

Scilla Wallis