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Friday, March 27, 2009

A Parable of the Candles

There was a blackout one night. When the lights went out, I fumbled to the closet where we keep the candles for nights like this. I lit four of them. I was turning to leave with the large candle in my hand when I heard a voice, "Now, hold it right there."

"Who said that?"
"I did." The voice was near my hand.
"Who are you? What are you?"
"I'm a candle."

I lifted up the candle to take a closer look.
There was a tiny face in the wax.

"Don't take me out of here!"
"What?"
"I said, Don't take me out of this room."
"What do you mean? I have to take you out. You're a candle.
Your job is to give light. It's dark out there."

"But you can't take me out. I'm not ready," the candle explained with pleading eyes.

"I need more preparation."

I couldn't believe my ears. "More preparation?"
"Yeah, I've decided I need to research this job of light-giving so I won't go out and make a bunch of mistakes. You'd be surprised how distorted the glow of an untrained candle can be...."


"All right then," I said.
"You're not the only candle on the shelf.
I'll blow you out and take the others!"
But right then I heard other voices,

"We aren't going either!"

I turned to the other candles,
"You are candles and your job is to light dark places!""Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. [Matthew 5:14-16]"

"Well, that may be what you think," said the first one,
"You may think we have to go, but I'm busy...
I'm meditating on the importance of light. It's really enlightening."...

"And you other two," I asked, "are you going to stay too?"

A short, fat, purple candle with plump cheeks spoke up. "I'm waiting to get my life together, I'm not stable enough."

The last candle had a female voice, very pleasant to the ear.
"I'd like to help, "she explained, "but lighting the darkness is not my gift...I'm a singer. I sing to other candles to encourage them to burn more brightly."

She began a rendition of "This Little Light of Mine" The other three joined in, filling the closet with singing....I took a step back and considered the absurdity of it all. Four perfectly healthy candles singing to each other about light but refusing to come out of the closet.


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