We had a wonderful idea. We thought of lanterns lighting the night sky. We thought of Gods word permeating through the darkness, reaching the stars and settling in their glow. A group of lanterns, I thought. Who could miss them? We carried them with us. We reached a hill in a public park that I could not decipher. Each lantern carried a verse. As the fire holding it adrift faded, I dreamt of each verse falling into the arms of one of Gods children, sparking a similar fire in the hearts of it’s new companion. We lit the first lantern. My sisters and I, that is. It spiralled into the sky. The wind had it’s way with the flame and it burst to life. We watched that little lantern, our practise run, soar so beautifully. Then its direction shifted, heading straight for a tree. Holding my breath as I watched it settle snuggly on a branch. The fire caught snuggly too. It spread. Fast. A whole tree alight with Gods fire. A fire engine paved the way for the police. The police then paved a way for the angry locals. The angry locals lighting a way for the nearest news channel to broadcast our faces to the world. We had created a fire in a public place with a recklessly wonderful idea that got out of hand. They made a mockery of our high hopes – our holy goal for the lanterns. The cameras surveyed the remaining lanterns, just sitting there, waiting for a flight that was not to be. Carrying verses that would never reach the sky, or the people I thought destined to find them. “How silly do you feel right now?,” the news reporter asks. I hate that the questions directed at me. My sisters squirm in the background, puzzled as to how God could let the night end up this way. My parents were probably watching. Old school friends recalling how we, the Holy Joes of the school year past, could be the only ones to pull a stunt like this. My cheeks flare up red. Everyone watching and judging and I know it. Then I realise Gods plan was blossoming before an entire nation, all thanks to a little lantern who dared to stray from the path we created and form a treacherous and radical route of it’s own. A route that caught the world’s attention and successfully broadcast our inky, handwritten verses to the thousands of people tuning in. They didn’t even have to leave the ground – to sit there and face inspection from angry authorities and gossip hungry reporters was all they had to endure to mean something. 5 grounded lanterns and one little tear away paving the way for my sisters and I to understand what God dreams for us. To dare to venture paths untraveled. To believe in the steadfast tree that anchors us and brings our dreams to life, immersing us in a faith so fiery, it’s seen from miles around.
These things did not really happen. The little lanterns journey reached completion in the depths of my imagination.
Will you be that tree for me, Lord?
Can I be that little lantern for you?