The first sound of the Easter season is the crackling of new fire. Even before the presider greets the people, the Easter flame burns to warm the hearts of believers and to fascinate our eyes, which long to behold the glory of God. The Easter (Paschal) candle that leads the procession into the church at the Easter Vigil becomes a dominant symbol for the season… it dispels the darkness that belies our sins. The Easter candle announces the news of the resurrection – Christ is risen!
So big is this message that it takes fifty days to celebrate. That Easter candle burns during the next seven weeks, proclaiming: Christ is risen, and we too may rise!
The Easter candle appears in our liturgy on two other significant occasions: baptisms and funerals. At Baptisms we light the Easter candle. The resurrection of Christ foreshadows our own resurrection. Baptism incorporates us into the body of Christ and gives us a share in his resurrection. Baptismal candles are often lit from the Easter candle. They remind parents and godparents to keep the flame of faith alive in the heart of the newly baptized.
We also light the Easter candle at funerals. In the midst of our grief, we call upon the symbols that enliven our faith. Several images of baptism reappear at the funeral: the sprinkling with holy water, the placing of a white pall (like a white garment) over the casket and the lighting of the Easter candle. Christ rose from the dead so that we too might pass from death to life. Every death reminds us of Easter. And every Easter gives us hope that death is not the end, but the passage from darkness to eternal light. (By Paul Turner Copyright (c) 1997 Resource Publications, Inc. )
Special thanks to prishioner Katy Robinson-Hall for adorning our new Paschal candle with a unique hand-painted design.