Friday, August 22, 2008

Each Human Heart Holds a Candle

"There is a candle in every soul," begins the popular Christian song Go Light Your World. "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5); and humans, made in His image, each carry a bit of that light within us. Those of us who know Him personally have the added privilege of being the light to others (cf. Mt. 5:14-16), though, like the full moon, we only shine because we're reflecting a greater Light Source.

Many people--including not a few who call themselves Christians--have built up walls of darkness around their own hearts. The bricks that make up those walls may be past grudges, present worries, future ambitions, or any number of things; what they all have in common is that they take our minds off God and convince us that our earthly concerns are more important. Once we get in the habit of thinking negative thoughts, they start to feel like old friends. We think they're protecting our hearts from pain, when in reality they're hiding God's image in us even from ourselves.

If that sounds like you, it's time to start feeding the flames of your inner light so they can grow strong enough to pierce the darkness. And the place to go for more fire is the True Light, through His earthly manifestations: prayer, the Scriptures, and the spiritual support of fellow believers. Don't expect to go from spark to blaze in five minutes; rekindling holy zeal tends to be more like the old friction method of starting a fire than like flipping an electric switch. It can be exhausting and painful.

But not as painful as continuing to sit in darkness.

Each human heart holds a candle
Lit up by God's holy fire;
Some people burn bright and steady,
Their flames climbing ever higher.
But some are desperately sputtering,
And some a faint ashy glow,
And some seem blown out completely--
The darkness is all that they know.

True fire alone lights a candle
And makes it burn bright once more,
And few are kindled by lightning
That strikes with a thundrous roar:
The fire from a match is more likely,
Or another lit candle's flame;
Friend, share your fire with your brothers,
And those who know not the Lord's name.

Each Christian heart holds a candle
God kindled to light the way
Of wandering souls to His Kingdom,
The world of the endless Day.
So dip your own flame to the candle
Your neighbor holds, seeking light;
Pass flame from candle to candle
Until the whole world burns bright!

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