The Presentation of Christ in the Temple – 2nd February 2015

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. This day, 40 days after the birth of Jesus, marks the traditional ending of the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle. It has been observed both as the presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the purification or cleansing of Mary. Levitical law dictated this presentation and purification following the birth of a male child.

The theme of Jesus, the true light – anticipated in Advent and brought into being at Christmas – now is sent to all the world: “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:32).

Because of the emphasis of Christ’s light overcoming the darkness, candles have played a large part in the celebration of this day, thus the name Candlemas. In some churches, candles are blessed and distributed to be taken home and used during family devotions.

Here at St Paul’s we are doing things a little differently.  The work of renewing the façade of the church has been completed. The new cross has been installed and will be a light pushing aside the darkness of the world and shining out for Christ in this area. Today we dedicate this cross and pray that this might be a time of renewal for ourselves that others might be drawn, by the light, into the body of Christ.

Blessings

Reverend Shan

Epiphany B – 4th January 2015

Brother Roger of Taizé once said: “Jesus our peace, by your Gospel you call us to be very simple, very humble. You cause to grow within us an infinite gratitude for your constant presence in our hearts.” The alternative Gospel reading today (John 1:1-18) is so familiar that we sometimes shelve it away as quaint or lost to the past.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 

Instead of shelving this reading, may we see in it a reminder of Christ’s birth in our own lives and Christ’s constant presence in our hearts.

The question then becomes, what is the response to that growing presence? How might we welcome that birthing and make ourselves available to God’s call in our lives?

Long ago they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Today we bring what we have in joy.

In prayer we say: Jesus Christ, likewise ones of old,

in joy we come bearing gifts

only to discover the greater gift  we have already received:

your life here amongst us.

Receive our gifts as signs

of our yearning to welcome you at all times.

In your name we pray, Amen.