By Rev Angela C
A few days ago we had a triple-header when it came to reflecting on the people and practices found in Holy Scripture. The facts of history are also the current events of our faith lives and there is a powerful interweaving of the characters of Salvation history both past and present.
The service of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ or Candle Mass involves the clergy and congregation holding lighted candles as a reminder that Jesus is the Light of the world, so that ritual, symbol and reality create a wonderful experience. God is truly with us in an intimate, personal, and corporate way.
The words of the old man Simeon in the temple are recalled: “Lord now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled. Mine own eyes have seen the salvation: which you have prepared in the sight of every people; A light to reveal you to the nations: and the glory of your people Israel.” In the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, this passage of Scripture from Luke 2:29-32 is titled the Song of Simeon or Nunc Dimmittis (which is Latin) signifying when the baby Jesus is brought into the temple as the first born son.
As a result of this public appearance, Anna, the prophetess living and worshipping in the temple daily, is also able to prophesy about His future. The following prayer makes the connection once more between the ancient act and the modern moment: “Almighty and ever-living 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” (Book of Common Prayer). God has a great future us also if we are faithful.
When women had delivered a baby, it was mandatory for her to present herself for purification. Mary, the mother of Our Lord, is no exception and so she makes the journey to be permitted to resume worshipping. Before we approach the altar for Holy Communion there are usually prayers of preparation in each tradition that would be similar to the following offertory prayer: “We offer these gifts which you have given us; this bread, this wine, this money. With them we offer ourselves, our lives, and our work, to become through your Holy Spirit a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice. As this bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ so may we and all your people becomes channels of your love…” ( Book of Common Prayer).
Does your life proclaim what you profess with your lips? Did you present yourself before the Lord this morning in prayer? Are you able to explain to others how the death of Christ atones for our sins by taking on Himself our death sentence? Do you desire and intend to live a pure life worthy of your high calling to be a child of God and a ministering servant in God’s Kingdom?
Let the examples of those who have gone before inspire us to faithful living in our generation. Do not be ashamed to associate yourself with the crucified Christ and to fight bravely for the will of God to be done on earth as in heaven, and today as in yesteryear.