Arent de Gelder 1645 – 1727 Simeon and Anna Praise the infant Jesus
The service opens with the Sisters of Mary singing the hymn ‘Let all mortal flesh keep silence’ as we mark Jesus presentation in the temple ‘in substance of our flesh’ celebrated as Candlemas.
We join together in bringing a candle to be blessed, as is the tradition on Candlemas, to celebrate Christ as the light of the world. Today we do this especially in response to Archbishop Justin’s call that we should light a candle each day to commemorate all of the 100 000 who have died in the UK from the coronavirus and those in the darkness of grief.
We reflect on how for the early church – who celebrated this day from the 3rd century, the candles they brought for blessing were the everyday candles they used to light their homes – the equivalent of our electric lights! Switching on our electric lights can be a sign too of Christ as the light of the world…
The key characters in the bible reading (Luke 2.22-40) – Simeon and Anna, demonstrate how God honours those who are in the twilight of their lives, with the role of revealing the Christ in the child Jesus. We in are time have a special duty of care to the old – as witnessed by the priority they have been given in receiving the Covid vaccination. However, we also know that we have failed too many who were in residential care and over a third of those who have died were supposedly ‘in care’.
The service ends with a celebration of the light of Christ which can shine through each of us for the sake of the world – ‘We’ll walk the land, with hearts on fire’ written and performed by Graham Kendrick with the Psalm Drummers.
We continue to pray for Eloise, baby Elijah, Derrick Pope, Lorraine Ellis, Gay and Stella Boyse, Angela Portlock, Caroline Goddard and Charlie Gray. We commend to God those who have died and pray by name for Phil Ellis, Malcolm Archibald and Violet Amey.
The prayer of blessing for Candlemas candles:
Lord God, the springing source of everlasting life,
pour into the hearts of your faithful people
the brilliance of your eternal splendour,
that we, who by these kindling flames
light up this temple to your glory,
may have the darkness of our souls dispelled,
and so be counted worthy to stand before you
in that eternal city where you live and reign,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
We’re delighted that we have another Littles Service for young and old a like, Susan says: “Here is a new song for you to sing. It’s all about love & how we give it away like a Magic Penny but we get more love back in return!”
We all need to have a new song to sing – join in!