This week is the lovely festival of Candlemas, when we remember Mary and Joseph taking the baby Jesus up to the Temple in Jerusalem, forty days after his birth. In the Temple he was recognised by Simeon and Anna, two wise and elderly people who recognised in him the Light of the World. Simeon famously then created the beautiful farewell poem known as the Nunc Dimittis, which is Latin for the first words:
Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.
In the days when candles were the principal form of light in the home, people would take candles to be blessed on Candlemas. Some churches would bless the year's supply of altar candles as well. I don't know what Rev. Lindiwe has in store for us this week, but candles are bound to feature!
We lit a candle last week to celebrate the first anniversary of our Open Table service. Held on the fourth Sunday evening of each month, this quiet service of Holy Communion offers a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community to gather. All our services at the Ascension are inclusive and affirming, but this special service gives us a space to think and pray about issues affecting the community.
Candlemas is the end of the Christmastide season in the church. Next week we will be back in green vestments and Ordinary Time will begin. Take heart, this is a sign that Spring is on the way, and bulbs are poking through the cold soil in earnest. We may be freezing, but the light is dawning.