Magazine article Anglican Journal

Torches of Triumph

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Torches of Triumph

Article excerpt

THIS YEAR, I will have the pleasure of spending Holy Week and Easter Day at Christ's Church Cathedral in Hamilton, Ont. On Easter Monday, I will travel to Jerusalem with the Advisory Council for the Canadian Companions of Jerusalem. I suspect we will not be in the Holy City very long before we make our way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the only church in the world, as John Peterson puts it, "that houses an empty tomb" (A Walk in Jerusalem).

Just days before, on Holy Saturday, thousands of pilgrims will have gathered at that ancient church for the Great Vigil of Easter. In a silence like no other, they will have waited with great anticipation for the first glimpse of The Light of Easter, carried out of the tomb by the Ecumenical Patriarch. And then, in a joy like no other, they will have shared in a boisterous exchange the greeting of Easter: "Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!"

In every image I have ever seen of that Great Vigil, I am struck by the fact that every pilgrim holds not a single taper, but a bundle of 33 candles symbolizing the years of Jesus' life. When kindled, it resembles a torch. The waving of those torches is a joyful proclamation of The Resurrection of Christ, a bold declaration of the triumph of good over evil, love over hatred, generosity over greed, life over death. …

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