If you’re familiar with The Two Ronnies (a UK comedy) you’ll know the humour contained in the words ‘four candles’.
In the sketch, a hardware shop keeper and customer become increasingly frustrated by misunderstandings. Word play and homophones result a series of wrong items being proffered, including ‘four candles’ rather than the required ‘fork handles’.
Something similar has happened to me. Last year we had exterior work undertaken to improve access to our home. Late one morning, one of the team tapped on the door and asked if he could borrow a fork.
Handing him a garden fork, he broke into laughter and said “I meant a fork to eat my pasta lunch with!”
The incident caused a lot of hilarity that day, and I still laugh when I think about it.
We all misunderstand things at some point. Sometimes it can inject humour into a situation, but other times it can send us round in circles.
I believe that our inner compass directs us to look for God, know God, love God and be at peace. But how often do our misunderstandings of the nature of God lead us to avoid God, reject God, fear God and be discontent?
The Jesuit priest, Gerry Hughes, defined sin along the lines of
‘not letting God be the God of tenderness, love and compassion that God is’
My life was profoundly changed by these words. As a vulnerable 7-year-old in an austere convent boarding school, I had been led to believe that God was an angry wrathful character who tolerated no mistakes. It was a massive misunderstanding, and thank goodness, I later encountered a completely different image of God. A God who delights in each one of us, and who longs for us to become our personal best through God’s fresh starts, encouragement, nudges, and affirmation.
So I’m reminded to keep checking that I’m on the right track, and when I’m not, to realign myself.
Maybe I’ll light four candles, remembering that we are each loved by God – Father, Son and Spirit…
Truth is… Neither death nor life, neither the present nor the future – there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God.
(Romans 8: 38-39)