Now, for those of you who wonder what on earth I'm on about this is a very special candle what we have in our church buildings. It's large and it's upfront because we get a new candle every year and to make the point it usually has the date on it. The new candle appears on Easter Sunday and so this year's candle looks a bit like the candle on the right:
It should be found by the font as that's the 'Go' of the Monopoly board that is the Christian faith in that it is the start point of our faith journey and it is lit because the third of the three elements of baptism
Chrism - anointing with oil,
Baptism - the wet bit, and
Light - the candle bit where the candle is given to the baptised person (or someone standing for them) to symbolise passing from darkness into light of Christ.
It's simple really - we light it during Paschaltide (Easter) and during the baptism (and if it's your flavour - funerals) and that's basically it. It represents the light of Christ and the lighting of the baptismal candle from it is a nice bit of symbolism - especially as all baptismal candles are lit from the same source and so it speaks of unity and oneness in Jesus, the Christ. To quote the Common Worship Baptismal service:
'God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness
and has given us a place with the saints in light.
You have received the light of Christ;
walk in this light all the days of your life.
Shine as a light in the world
to the glory of God the Father.
Go in the light and peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.'
Well it should be but I find a number of churches where the blessed Paschal candle finds itself placed in front of the pulpit (for reasons I have no idea of other than the someone is being liturgically dim!) or in the sanctuary (because it's 'special!') and one place I know enjoys having it lit in front of, and in the middle of the table (AKA 'the altar') on it's blinking great stand when it's a festival, Saint's day or some other occasion because (yeah, you've got it) "It's special!
Now I'm writing this in response to a question from someone who thought they were doing something 'special' when they lit the candle - because that was what they thought it meant, "Look everyone, this is a special service because I've lit the great big candle up the front/back/in front of the pulpit/by the font!' They asked me what the candle meant and so I have written this brief explanation in the hope it help them (and others) with regard to the liturgical use of the thing.
I await their response in eager anticipation because it's an area many of us are (or have been) confused by (I know, I was because I was taught by someone equally confused by it all too) and yet, when the right meaning is understood it's use becomes even more meaningful - or so I reckons.