Light shining in the darkness

Light shining in the darkness

In Episcopal churches a light still shines in the darkness, even though the congregation cannot worship there for the time being.

These are the sanctuary lamps.

Following ancient custom, the Book of Common Prayer provides that the consecrated bread and wine may be reserved for the communion of the sick or others who  could not be present at the celebration (pp. 408-409).

It is customary to keep the consecrated elements in a tabernacle or an aumbry or covered with a veil on a table or altar. A lamp or candle burns nearby to announce the presence of the reserved sacrament. This light is known as a sanctuary lamp if the reservation is near the altar.

The sacrament may also be reserved on Maundy Thursday for communion on Good Friday, although many congregations do not have communion at all on Good Friday, to commemorate Jesus’ time in the tomb, absent from us.

Even when we cannot be there, the lights still shine.