Candles often accompany birthdays… and the Daily Candle has reached the ripe old age of 100!
The Daily Candle began in response to the spiralling anxiety that characterised so many of our lives in March this year, writes Chris Bennett of Belvoir Parish, Belfast.
Amidst the roiling panic of apocalyptic news reports and empty shelves, the simple rhythm of stopping for a moment, lighting a candle and saying a short prayer at 6pm every day brought shape to our newly-routine-free lives. And the idea of posting a little Daily Candle video on Facebook every day, to share our stories and bring a smile to our faces, allowed us to feel connected in a world where we were all hunkering down into lockdown.
A constant source of encouragement and delight was the growing number of people who lifted their smartphones and recorded a video to include in the Daily Candle broadcast. Some of them were recording their own voice for the first time – but it’s amazing how many of them turned out to be complete naturals.
We shared favourite poems, picture challenges, treasured Bible verses, wedding photos, artistic endeavours, postcard stories and holiday snaps. One of our regular contributors couldn’t even countenance adding the last piece to the Family Lockdown Jigsaw without filming the moment for the Daily Candle!
We were given personal guided tours of local primary and nursery schools, working farms, butchers’ shops, woodland walks and artists’ studios. The green-fingered among us showed off their gardens, and the super-fit among us took us on virtual bike rides to see the sights of a beautiful quiet Northern Ireland. And as our community of Daily Candlers grew and became international, we were even treated to a walking tour of Halifax in Yorkshire and a glimpse of Lake Ontario in Canada.
When we reached Daily Candle no.40 at the end of April, it was hard to believe that we had all been living in this strange new reality for 40 days and 40 nights. We had the distinct sense that our time in the wilderness (or the ark – choose your own example of Biblical 40-day lockdown!) wasn’t yet over, and so the Daily Candles continued. But as the end of June approached, the timing seemed perfect to draw things to a close. The 100th Daily Candle coincided with the end of June, the beginning of the summer holidays, and (though we couldn’t have known it at the time), the start of a new season of eased restrictions and re-opening doors.
But first, there was the 100th Daily Candle itself: and for the first time, rather than posting a little pre-edited video on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter at 6pm on the dot, we met ‘live’ on Zoom to light our candles in unison; a diverse community of people connected by the simple act of sharing in this daily rhythm for the past 99 days.
We also encouraged the ‘regulars’ to send in pictures and videos of their candles being lit, and the results can be seen here:
One of our Candle Community, Amy, provided a beautiful new recording of the Clare Benediction to accompany this kaleidoscopic variety of different candles, on different kitchen tables, shining light into different situations and fears and worries. And we produced little magnets so that, proudly displayed on our fridge doors all across greater Belfast and beyond, is a reminder of the prayer we prayed as we lit our candles every day. We can now tell countless stories of ways in which this prayer was answered – even as we keep praying it over the days that lie ahead:
For light in a dark world
And hope in a fearful heart
And peace in a troubled soul.
The complete archive of 100 Daily Candles can be found here:
[ https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIILIEEz4vIBksQRuhxZkd30FL9ksomJt ]
We’re delighted to send one of the Daily Candle Prayer magnets to anyone who requests one: just email Belvoir Parish at
[ email@example.com ]
The story isn’t over yet… over the summer the Daily Candle will regenerate into The Weekly Candle!