Sunday 5th February is the day that we celebrate the Feast of Candlemas, though the actual date is the 2nd of February. It is a service that marks the end of the Christmas season and is 40 days after the event at the stable in Bethlehem. It is also the Feast of the Presentation when Mary and Joseph took our Lord to the Temple to present the child to God as the Jewish custom dictated. In the readings for that day, we are privileged to hear the words of the Nunc Dimittis as the prophet Simeon’s ‘life is fulfilled’ now that he has seen the Lord.
Very few people have been granted the wonderful gift of seeing the Lord on a one-to-one basis. There must have been thousands that saw him as the Bible record the huge crowds that followed him where he stopped on his journey. Many were fed by him, either spiritually or practically, on the hillside during what is called the ‘Sermon on the mount’. Of course, our Lord’s life was littered by encounters as he healed the sight of an individual, or cured people from leprosy, or indeed brought them back from the dead. These were times of miracles, more general encounters that benefitted just one person.
The truth is that those same things still happen, times when inexplicable things happen and people are cured of terrible illnesses, times when science is confounded by healing that seemed beyond the skills medicine. Such events cannot be explained, nor should they, other than to say that God still works wonders in the lives of people; they do indeed have a personal encounter and sometimes they do not even know it!
God’s love for us is constant and as strong as ever. His arms are open to welcome all who would come to him and long to change their lives, find a new path and experience God’s grace.
Why not join us at Candlemas on the 5th or Ash Wednesday one the 26th as we begin the Season of Lent or at any of our services – they are shown to the right of the website. You will be warmly welcomed.
May God bless you all.
Reverend Fr. Ronald Croft