Dear all

Hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday!

My goodness, I can’t believe that we’ve come to the end of January already. Although there are signs of hope in the battle against Covid-19 with vaccines being administered nationwide, there is still cause to pause as more than 100,000 Covid related deaths have been recorded. The magnitude of this is immeasurable. And the impact of the devastation of this pandemic will be felt for years. It is in this stark context that the Archbishops have invited the nation “to pray and to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic”. Links to the full call to prayer can be found here:
Prayer for the nation | The Church of England
We call upon the Church to pray for our nation.

Today, we marked the feast of Candlemas, The Presentation of Christ in the Temple. The feast of Candlemas explores themes of… presentation, purification and light. And, I wonder what meaning these themes have for us through the lens of a pandemic.

Simeon was waiting to see the Messiah. We don’t know how long he had been waiting. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit promised it would happen before he died and we know he was an old man. When Jesus was presented in the temple, Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God, saying:

“Now, Lord, you have kept your promise,
and you may let your servant go in peace.
With my own eyes I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples:
A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles
and bring glory to your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:22-40)

Have you ever waited for something? Waited for a really long time for something to happen… an answer to a prayer, a change in a circumstance, a transformation of a relationship? Just like Simeon, some of us are waiting for us to ‘emerge from this pandemic’… some of us are waiting for our ‘new normal’ to begin.

On this great feast of Candlemas we are called to present ourselves anew to God in worship and to focus on the living God who loves us and who calls us to a life of deepening holiness. May we know God’s love, hope and peace in these troubling times.

Many thanks to all who contributed to today’s online worship event: Gloria, Jackie, Jon (readers); Julie (prayers); Malcolm and Richard for playing for us. Your ministry is really appreciated. Thank you to all who gathered for our online worship.

Revd Cathy

The Feast of Candlemas
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