Electricity and Candles, by S. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

“When electricity first became available to farmers living in the northern parts of England, there were varied responses.  Some property owners refused to have power lines on their land.   They preferred their kerosene lamps and lanterns to all the marvelous benefits of electricity.  What intrigued me when I heard these stories, however, was the response of one elderly woman.  She used the electricity, but each month when the meter was read, the amount she owed was very small.  The local municipality installed another meter but with much the same result.  It was only later in conversation with her that the secret came out:

‘Electricity is really wonderful,’ the lady said to the municipal official, “and I use it every night. When it gets dark I switch on the light, find my matches, light my candle and then switch the lights off again.’  ~ Quote from Journey of the Spirit by Trevor Hudson with Morton Kelsey

I laugh about the naivete of the elderly woman. But perhaps I laugh too soon!  Don’t I do that same thing when I hurry to connect with God so some error can be corrected, or some need fulfilled, and then go about MY own busyness?

Prayer is like the electricity.

I come in the church or stop for a moment (flip the switch)

Use the light of scripture and sacrament

Find and connect with Jesus

Leave the church (turn off the switch)

Go about my business until the next time I need to find the light.

I think my first mistake is that I go about MY business. It is not MY business. It is God’s business, and if I only stop when I need something I am no wiser than the elderly woman who turns on the lights only to find a match, and the turns them off again.

Keep the lights on!

Peace, and Joy, and Awareness.

Sharonlu OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg
Oldenburg Franciscan Center

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