Liturgy of light for Epiphany

Deep in the midst of a bleak winter, churches are finding ways to illuminate people’s spirits. In Durham, North Carolina, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is planning to usher in the season of Epiphany with 400 lights:

Feast of Lights

From the Durham Herald-Sun

On the twelfth day of Christmas, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will host not 12 drummers drumming, but a prayer service marking the end of the Christmas season and beginning of Epiphany. All in darkness but for the 400 candles burning brightly in the sanctuary.

For the past four years, youth at St. Luke’s have led a celebration of the light of Christ for the world, the saints throughout the centuries, and the Epiphany star that led the Magi, also known as the wise men, to bring their gifts to baby Jesus. Epiphany is observed Jan. 6.

Parishioner Michael Hale Gray organizes the annual service, held Epiphany Eve Jan. 5, as well as building several poplar wood platforms to hold the candles that grow in number each year. There are 30 hanging platforms that display the white pillar and votive candles that surround the square altar. Individual devotional candles are also distributed to everyone who attended the service.

The Rev. Joseph Hensley, assistant rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal, said the service is a way to end the Christmas season and also teach about saints. He hopes those who attend will come away with a sense of wonder. Sitting in the darkness, then illuminated with lights representing the light of Christ “makes us feel a part of something larger,” he said.

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