Blessing the Candles

by Rev. Lynn Ungar

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha'olam, asher kidshanu
b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik neir shel shabbat

Here     in the last
gentle light past sunset
At the end of the week,
in the last years of the century
it is hard not to grasp
after the receding light
It is hard not to wonder
what is left     Two candles burning
Insufficient light to plant
or cook or paint the kitchen
Anything purposeful     that might
claim some conviction of the future

There is so little we create
A few lines that take on life,
a bookcase that stands steady
There is so little that remains,
and always someone wanting
I could hand out quarters
on the street all day     and no one
would be saved or safe or whole

Outside, the street lamps
are blinking on into a false
pink phosphorescent cheer
and we are sitting silent
in the wake of the candles'
first flare     I am watching you
looking at the candles
or the darkness in between them

This is the blessing that we
have kindled     This particular dark
This space between two poles
which we     who are not angels
can inhabit     If you stand facing me
this is what you will find
The gap between us where
our common lives take shape
The space between us that
we reach into for love

Outside, the royal blue is deepening
to black     The stars begin to form
their million year old light
into constellations which we,
in our demand for form and story
have decreed     And you and I
are caught between the candles
where we cannot help but live
In the close and infinite abundance
held between the kindling
and the dying of the light

Praised be Thou, Eternal God,
who has sanctified us with
thy commandments, and required
of us the kindling of lights

Lynn Ungar welcomes the use of her material for personal and congregational use, provided that credit is given. Please check with the author lynnungar@gmail.com before making more than one printed copy of any of these materials.

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