All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. ~ Ephesians 1:3 (NLT)
I remember my wedding day like it was yesterday, even thought it’s been over 20 years ago. It was a glorious summer day in the mountains up at Shaver Lake, CA. We had our wedding in a small chapel in the woods. To say Michelle, my wife, was radiating beauty would be an understatement. She was breath-taking. As we went through the service, surrounded by a hundred or so friends and family, there were stories, musical interludes, and, of course, the vows. It wasn’t until we were on our honeymoon that we discovered we’d skipped a part of the ceremony. We forgot to light the unity candle. For those of you who haven’t seen this done before, it’s quite simple. There is a big candle which is not lit when the service starts. There are two smaller candles next to it which are lit at the beginning of the service. At some point, the bride and groom walk over and light the big candle (called the unity candle) and blow out the smaller ones. This signifies that the bride and groom are no longer individuals, but have become one. They don’t live for themselves; they live for each other. Luckily, it’s only a symbol, and my wife and I have figured out how to live in a unified way.
This symbolic act also has real-world meaning for us Christians. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we snuff out our smaller candle, our flame is united with His. We no longer live for ourselves; we live for Jesus. We are united with Christ. So, what does this mean in practical terms? Your life is no longer your own.
Living a unified life in Christ means we follow His lead in all things. Pew sitting in church doesn’t count (though it is part of what God calls us to do). We are to: love God, love everyone, forgive, share our resources, volunteer our time to help others, and share the good news of Jesus with the world. If we are united in Christ, these things aren’t a burden. They are part of the relationship we have with Him. They are a blessing! Why? Because we get to experience God in ways which we could never imagine. We get to be witness to miracles. We get to see people who are lost find security in Christ. We get to experience love on an unimaginable level.
So, today, and every day, remember the unity candle. Live for Jesus.