FRIDAY THE SECOND OF FEBRUARY 2018
* Candlemas *
Lord Christ, set us on ﬁre, burn from us all that dims your light; kindle an answering flame in the lives of those around us, that darkness may be driven back and glory stream into your world transforming it with light. Amen.
In his temple now behold him,
see the long expected Lord;
ancient prophets had foretold him,
God has now fulfilled his word.
Now to praise him, his redeemed
shall break forth with one accord.
In the arms of her who bore him,
virgin pure, behold him lie,
while his aged saints adore him,
ever in faith and hope they die.
Lo, the incarnate God most high.
Jesus, by your presentation,
you, who did for us endure,
make us see our great salvation,
seal us with your promise sure.
And present us in your glory
To your father, cleansed and pure.
Prince and author of salvation,
be your boundless love our theme.
Jesus, praise to you be given
by the world you did redeem.
With the Father and the Spirit,
Lord of majesty supreme!
( Henry J. Pye and William Cooke )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Candlemas: “a blessed light does shine”
Today Saint Laika’s celebrates Candlemas, otherwise known as the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple.
Candlemas refers back to the custom of more than a thousand years in the pre-electrified western world, of bringing candles to church to be blessed by the priest, then taking them home to be used as a focal point against the darkness of the night.
We live in artificial light. We have become used to candles setting a mood for romance or relaxation, or scented candles for “aromatherapy.” Nothing gets us back to basics in western New York where I live than a good old-fashioned power outage, the kind that may last for an hour or for hours, when all our technology fails us, and folks trip over things in the dark to find a flashlight, or a few good old candles.
How comforting for those ancients who actually had to live in darkness and in light to have the blessed candles as a sign and token of God’s protection. Church candles, made of beeswax and smelling of honey. A reminder that God is in our homes and a sure protection in times of trouble.
The cadences of the old compline prayer would have brought them comfort as they lit their candles:
Lighten our darkness, we beseech you, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all the perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only son, our saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Candlemas reminds us that in Jesus Christ, a light has entered the world that darkness cannot overcome.
In the words of aged Simeon who met the infant Jesus in the Lord’s temple one day, Jesus is “a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of his people, Israel.”
That light is still with us, within us, around us. May your eyes always be drawn to that light.
Scripture. In "Psalm Forty-Three," verses three and four, we read:
O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.
... for peace in the world.
... for the elderly.
... for those who are waiting.
... for protection from the dangers of winter.
... for light in the darkness.
... for men living with prostate cancer.
... for those injured during a mass brawl between Afghan and Eritrean migrants in the French port city of Calais. DETAILS
... for those facing redundancy from work.
... for the ninety migrants who drowned when a people smugglers' boat capsized off the Libyan coast. DETAILS
... for those who died when two army helicopters collided in southern France. DETAILS
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From a sermon by Sophronius of Jerusalem:
In honour of the divine mystery that we celebrate today, let us all hasten to meet Christ. Everyone should be eager to join the procession and to carry a light.
Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendour of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.
The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.
The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.
The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendour, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal. Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the light, who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendour.
Through Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which he prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves. As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.
By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as he came to us from Bethlehem. Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God. Our eyes have seen God incarnate, and because we have seen him present among us and have mentally received him into our arms, we are called the new Israel. Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in his honour.
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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