Image Description: Three lit candles are on top of a table. Two of the candles are blue, and the other is white. There is also a blue and white plate and small, flat, ceramic piece with a painting of a yellow and orange flower.
Twice a week, I join students and my friend and colleague Matthew in moving around the room and lighting as many candles as possible. This includes the corners of the room.
We turn off the lights at Canterbury House and then enjoy the small flames of light shining and flickering from a variety of directions.
“Grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end,” we say together as an act of prayer at the beginning. Then we begin to sing.
This is all very restful. This semi-weekly gathering on Sunday and Wednesday nights is called Compline. Alongside the light and the singing, we talk with one another in reflection. At the beginning, we all check in with one another and ask how the week is going. Once we’ve sung and read some sacred texts, we reflect and share from our lives. Often, this goes deep, and it really feels like a privilege.
These little flames of light help to summon this depth from us. Last night, I found myself wondering if this is a bit like gathering around a campfire. We can be real and vulnerable. We can laugh. We can mess up the songs when it’s getting dark outside and it’s harder to see the words. We can know we belong.
This is lovely.
Light summons all of this, and it’s a prelude to the semi-weekly meal that follows.
It’s good to campfire together.
“Grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end.”