Vera Jo Bustos
Holy Saturday & the Eternal Flame (A Mindful Journey Excerpt)
"The flame moved from person to person. A sea of darkness expanded into a moving spectacle of light, warmth, and celebration."
Imagery is an example of the Eternal Flame.
*Excerpt is taken from the book A Mindful Journey, which took place in Greece.
Part II - Day 85
Our walk to church was less somber than the previous night. What remained unchanged were the people. Tonight, there were in excess of one thousand people standing outside the church. We made no attempt to enter. Alex said the priests would come out onto the balcony to light the flame for all the people to see. I had no idea what he was talking about. I simply followed, trying not to get lost in the crowd.
We meandered through the gathering, scouting the perfect spot with an unobstructed view of the balcony to watch the Eternal Flame being ignited. Once there, Alex handed me a small, white candle with a plastic cover toward the bottom to prevent hot wax from dripping onto my hands.
“Just hold onto this. You will see what it is for very soon.” Alex’s words added to the anticipation. Ten minutes felt like forty. Finally, doors opened on the second-floor balcony and priests came into view. One stood out more than the others. The darkness prevented me from deciphering the colors or patterns of his clothing. It was his hat that set him apart. It was at least three feet high. He was carrying a lit candle. The others held banners. He shouted –
He passed the flame, the Eternal Flame, to the priest closest to him. The flame moved from person to person. A sea of darkness expanded into a moving spectacle of light, warmth, and celebration. The light reached me from the hand of Eleni.
“Christos Anesti!” Eleni repeated the priest’s words before adding her own. “It means Christ is Risen. The response when someone says this to you is Alithos Anesti, which means, Truly, He is Risen.”
I watched the sea of light continue through the square. I was not sure where it ended. The illumination made each person’s face glow softly, serenely. People cried. People shouted. People celebrated. Others were deep in prayer. I felt a tear. It was one from my soul, passing through my eye, dying on my lips. . .
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