I write this as we celebrate Candlemas. This often overlooked feast brings to a close the season of Epiphany and at church, it means the laying away of the Nativity Scene until later this year.
I couldn’t help but reflect this year, as I put away the Nativity figures, about all that had happened since I did it in 2019. Whilst Coronavirus was on our TV screens at Candlemas last year, none of us could have foreseen the devastation this pandemic would bring to our country and the world. The recent tragic milestone of 100,000 Covid-19 related deaths in the UK is a stark reminder of how this pandemic has impacted the lives of so many people. The figure is truly shocking and devastating. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York reflected on this and encouraged the nation to pray each day during February – you can read it here and perhaps join with them. I hold in my prayers all those who I’ve taken funerals for this past 10 months, who have not been able to hold the funeral they would have done for their loved ones, who have lost loved ones due to Covid-19, directly or as a consequence of it.
Candlemas is the moment that Mary and Joseph, proud parents, take their baby son into the temple where Simeon and Anna recognise Jesus for who he is, the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God. Simeon said to Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’ The final part of this always sticks in my mind. Jesus did come into the world to be it’s/our Saviour, but there was still to be pain and sorrow, however, now there is someone to share it with us.
With all God’s blessings…
Revd Mike (Rector)