Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Candlemas Day, The Presentation

While every February 2nd some folks in our Northern Hemisphere check groundhogs to find out if they see their shadows, this morning we gathered in our chapel for a special feast, the Presentation of the Lord. Joseph and Mary had taken their son Jesus to the temple for a rite of purification of the mother and a presentation of the child to the Lord. Because Jesus is the Light of the World, this day has been called Candlemas Day for centuries in the English-speaking world. Candles are blessed to be used at prayer services at home and in chapels. This morning in our chapel, candles were blessed, lit and then held high as we processed into our spacious chapel.
When the Baby Jesus was brought into the Temple two elderly people sensed in that Baby Jesus the presence of God, the arrival of the Messiah. Simeon and Anna, both advanced in age, were prompted by the Spirit to be in the Temple just at the right moment. Luke's gospel says, "Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God saying,
Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.
Luke goes on to say, "There was also a prophet, Anna....She was of great age....At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Israel." (Luke 2:36) Both Simeon and Anna proclaimed the Good News that the Messiah had arrived. I pray that when I get to be really advanced in age that I will be capable of listening to the urging of the Holy spirit. I guess one has to begin early to be attuned to the suggestions of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual writers suggest that we read the Scripture often to see examples of what God did for others. Regular daily prayer helps as well as an effort to quiet our minds. This is a prayer to invoke the Holy Spirit:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful And kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth. Let us pray: O God, by the light of the Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful. In the same Spirit, help us to know what is truly right and always to rejoice in your consolation. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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