The flame met the earthen lamp in me, and what a great marvel of light.
~ R. Tagore, Fireflies
Lantern of Love (Fragments of Your Ancient Name, Joyce Rupp)
In the unclouded cottage of my soul
A watchful light remains ever vigilant.
In the thick forest of my darkest hours
There gleams a trustworthy sentinel.
In the most lost experience of searching
A beam of direction calmly lights the way.
In the painful moments of impermanence
A signal of presence softens the loneliness.
In the bleakness of disturbing trials
You, Lantern of Love, shine steadfastly.
Listen Velma Frye’s song “The Lantern of My Life”
May the lantern of my life move gently this night
Into all the places where light is needed.
Reading (The Ladder of Light, Steven Charleston)
Sometimes in this troubled world of ours, we forget love is all around us. We imagine the worst of other people and withdraw into our own shells. But try this simple test: Stand still in any crowded place and watch the people around you. Within a very short time, you will begin to see love, and you will see it over and over and over. A young mother talking to her child, a couple laughing together as they walk by, an older man holding the door for a stranger—small signs of love are everywhere. The more you look, the more you will see. Love is literally everywhere. We are surrounded by love. The instinct to care is still within us—all of us—so much so that you can see it clearly just by standing still.
Pause to be in touch with the divine light dwelling within your being. Imagine yourself as a candle in the darkness, a shining presence of love. Call to mind persons whose life holds the bleak grayness of suffering. Consider, too, people and places globally where darkness prevails. Remember, too, our dear planet Earth and the harm being done there. Mindfully gather Emmanuel’s light. Send this forth to all whom you have remembered. At the close of this reflection, deliberately make a decision to be a lantern of love this Advent.
Emmanuel, you are a steady lantern of light guiding the way. Clear what has become clouded. Bring home what wandered away. Free what holds the mind captive. Revive love grown weak. Empower the goodness within me that waits to radiate its way into the larger world.
Lantern of Love, I welcome you.
Inner Radiance, I welcome you.
Beacon of the Exiled, I welcome you.
Sun of Justice, I welcome you.
Fire of Transformation, I welcome you.
Vigilant Flame, I welcome you.
Morning Star, I welcome you.
Everlasting Light, I welcome you.
~ Joyce Rupp
Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
light for the world to see.
Christ be our light! Shine in our hearts. Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light! Shine in your church gathered today.
Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.
Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.
Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.
Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.