Stories From the Field

Flickering Candles and the Truth of Sin

Lilly and I were walking through the city one afternoon when we began to discuss Easter traditions. In the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, she said, people would walk once around the

church, each carrying a lit candle. “The number of times your candle flickers is the number of times you’ve sinned in the past year,” she explained.

“Wow…I think my candle wouldn’t ever stop flickering. It would just go out!” I said. “But,” I asked, “What if your candle didn’t flicker at all? Would that mean you didn’t sin?”

“It must mean that, if it didn’t flicker,” Lilly answered.
“Do you think that ever happens? Is it possible to not sin?”
“Well,” she said, “I have had some friends whose candles didn’t flicker…”

As Lilly and I continued to discuss this, I asked her about whether jealousy was a sin. She agreed that it was, and I asked, “So, do you think your friends weren’t even jealous one time during that whole year?”

Lilly said, “They must not have…,” seeming unsure.