Using These Readings
Each reading begins with a few sentences that summarize the thought for the day. All the rest is Scripture—letting God speak to us directly from his Word. Daily use should begin on the Saturday of Palm Sunday weekend (April 8). This leaves Saturday, the day before Easter, with no devotional, a reminder of the emptiness experienced by Jesus’ followers between his death and resurrection.
These readings may be used simply for personal or family reading and meditation in preparation for Easter. In that case, please ignore the bracketed candle instructions within each reading.
The readings may also be used in conjunction with any grouping of seven candles. On the first day, all seven should be burning as you begin reading the first devotional. Bracketed instructions within the reading tell you when to snuff out one candle. On the second day, six candles burn as you begin reading, and you snuff out one of them when instructed, and so on. On Good Friday, the last candle is extinguished. Then on Easter, there are instructions within the reading to light all seven candles.
The Symbolism of the Seven Candles
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). But for a while it seemed as if the darkness was overcoming—for a long while.
Your seven candles symbolize the Light of the World—the Light that was God’s glory and that illuminated God for us—the Light that, in the end, seemed to have been darkened. As we move through the season preceding Easter, the candles are snuffed out one by one, until all are dark on Good Friday, when Jesus died and the earth was covered with shadow. Darkness apparently had won. The Light of the World had been extinguished. It was finished.
But NO! Easter brings resurrection! Life! Return from death! The Light has won and all the candles burn as we praise him—the Light of the World, the Bright Morning Star, the Glory of God.
Saturday of Palm Sunday weekend
[All seven candles lit before reading]
God created the universe—from galaxies to water spiders. He created the breeze that calms us and the hurricane that terrifies us. All of it is to show us what he is like, to display his glory and personality.
BUT people have let themselves be blinded to the truth. Some take all of God’s creation for granted and say it just got there somehow—no need for God. Others worship the things that were created and don’t see God behind it.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. . . . And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. . . . Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. . . .
[Snuff out one candle. Do not light it again until Easter]
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
(Taken from John 1:1-5; Genesis 1:1-2:3; Romans 1:18-25.)