Birthday cakes have been a tradition since the Ancient Romans were around, and celebrating someone’s birth with a delicious pastry seems pretty logical. But have you ever wondered who the first pyromaniac was to light a cake on fire? There are a few theories about the origins of birthday candles.
Some believe that the tradition of birthday candles began in Ancient Greece, when people brought cakes adorned with lit candles to the temple of Artemis, goddess of the hunt. The candles were lit to make them glow like the moon, a popular symbol associated with Artemis.
Many ancient cultures also believed that smoke carried their prayers to the heavens. Today’s tradition of making wishes before blowing out your birthday candles may have started with that belief.
I like the idea that we when blow out candles our prayers and wishes rise to the heavens. Maybe that is why I think birthdays and wishes go so well together. There is something about birthdays that make wishes seem possible. After all, birthdays are like new beginnings; they offer an opportunity to start over, to erase the old and replace it with something new.
Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. And like with all birthdays, I believe it gives the Church a chance to dream new dreams and cast new visions. For me, Pentecost isn’t about speaking in tongues; it is about making wishes for the Church, it is about being able to dream new dreams. This Sunday we might not have a birthday cake and candles to celebrate the Church’s birthday, but we will have the opportunity to share a wish we have for the Church.
I know what my wish is. I wish MoCity1st would allow the Spirit of God to move through it and create something new and fresh. I wish MoCity1st would answer the call to be what God has called her to be…to be that place where thirsty people can come and taste the life-giving water of Jesus Christ. I wish for MoCity1st to be an instrument of God’s peace and of His grace and of His love. Oh yeah, I wish . . .