Greetings, and a Good-Day to all of you.  It’s story time.

These posts are scheduled, so I’m actually writing this one Sunday ago, but I need to get this down for the Sunday Disservice while it still fresh in mind.

My choir rented one of our downtown churches to perform in for our classical concert (check out the Friday Musical Interlude for the pieces).  We performed quite well, the Mass went very well and Rhineberger’s Stabat Mater really brought down the house.  Our story however begins post concert, after the reception, after most of the people and clean up crew had left the building.

I was helping with the final security check of the chapel and sanctuary, making sure doors were locked and the corresponding lights turned off and what not.  Then toward the front of the church I notice something like this hanging in the corner.

Now being the fire safety conscious type I see danger in leaving a flame unattended overnight.   So I take the candle down and blow it out.  I return the candle to the holder only to see my choir director smiling at me with a somewhat surreptitious grin on her face.

She was like, “Arb, I’m pretty sure you were supposed to leave that candle burning…” and of course her grin gets bigger.   And me I’m like, “Whaaat?  Unattended candles are a fire-hazard…”.

Being an atheist and having avoided the church scene for the majority of my life has left me startling ignorance of all the wacky rituals that go down within the hallowed churchy halls that I just finished singing in (great acoustics though).  Anyhow, the Deacon comes in and is like well what happened here?

Let me tell you upfront and right now that ‘the eternal flame of Jesus’ and ‘unattended fire hazard’ are indistinguishable to the atheist eye.  So yes, I had just extinguished the eternal flame of the Savior in his own church no less.

*Awkward silence* – Well at least I knew why my conductor was grinning so broadly.  So, then “I’m sorry” became the header of my next twenty sentences, as we went into the storage room to get some matches to relight the eternal flame of Jesus.  It was funny, we just kept on going with the final sweep of the church, nothing was said, as we locked up and then said our good-byes.

So, I’m not sure how to chalk this one up?  Do atheistic actions taken in ignorance count toward the cause?  I mean, its not every day that one can claim to have extinguished the eternal flame of jesus and live to tell the tale.  :)  (On a humanistic note, I do feel bad as the Deacon is a choir acquaintance, and was instrumental in the set-up and hosting of our concert and messing up her rituals isn’t cool).

Perhaps the moral of the story is that Eternal Flames of Jesus need a label so fire safety conscious atheists don’t go around extinguishing him.  :)