Not preaching at the main service tomorrow, so here's the 8am reflection:
Presentation of Christ in the temple. Luke 2:22-40
We are a little early to celebrate Candlemas – it actually falls on February 2nd, because that is exactly 40 days after Christmas Day and the birth of Jesus. According to Jewish law, families were commanded to present their male children at the Temple in Jerusalem, to give thanks to God and pray for the purification of the mother and health of the child, for it was considered that after the vital forty-day period it was almost certain that all mortal danger was passed. This is a perfectly normal event in the life of any Jewish family but that this is not an ordinary family. Luke tells us this story because he believes it is a story which will help us to understand more about what God has done in Jesus Christ: to grasp the good news of God’s coming kingdom.
We hear how Simeon & Anna see and recognise the 40 day old Jesus – and know this is the one. Here is another moment of epiphany, a revelation in the midst of ordinary life of the glory of God come to earth.
Luke wants us to know that Jesus is not just the one to be looked for by Simeon and Anna, the one to bring hope to Israel, but is the one who brings good news to all time and space – to the whole world. ‘A light for revelation to the Gentiles’ – light and hope for Jew and non-Jew alike.
As we come with our seeking, hoping, and longing in the ordinariness of this day, Christ comes – God’s chosen, the one who can save us, the one who can change things, by revealing God’s love. In this bread, in this wine, in these prayers, God comes to us all.
The message of Luke is that God has come to us, that heaven is shining through in the ordinary things of life, that we are never abandoned and may hope for new and abundant life.
In the grace and the gift of Christ our Lord. Amen.