I honestly don’t know where this came from. But I was jogging today and I started thinking about the use of unity candles in weddings. In seminary I remember hearing an interesting argument related to unity candles that went like this:
If you are going to use a unity candle in your wedding, you at least shouldn’t blow out the two candles that are used to light the unity candle. The reason is because though two people are becoming one, they also remain two unique people. If you blow out both of the original candles that were used to light the unity candle, it is kind of bad symbolism that is sending a subtle message that the two people are losing their identities and becoming absorbed into each other.
I found this argument fairly convincing at the time. To my way of thinking it is kind of like the Trinity, God is 1, but God is also 3 unique persons.
But today, I thought, maybe there is another way to look at it. Maybe in a time where divorce is all too frequent, blowing out the two candles that light the unity candle can remind the church and those who are getting married of Genesis 2:24 (which Jesus quotes in both Matthew 19 and Mark 10) For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
In other words, maybe in blowing out those candles we are not saying, I renounce my individuality, but rather we are saying, I give up all that would threaten to separate what God has joined together. Maybe in our context, it is more important to emphasize the new “one” thing that has been created in a marriage, than it is to emphasize the fact that we are still individual people.
That is just what I was thinking about today as I was trying not to pass out while jogging. What do you think?