Thursday, February 02, 2006

Presentation of Our Lord

Today most people are celebrating the festival of the psychic rodent. Apparently there are some Groundhogs who can forecast what kind of weather we’re to expect for the next month and a half. Today the church celebrates the Presentation of Our Lord.

Forty days after the birth of Christ we mark the day Mary and Joseph presented him in the temple in accordance with Jewish law. There in the temple, a prophetess named Anna began to speak of the redemption of Israel when she saw the young child. Simeon also greeted Mary and Joseph. He responded to the presence of the consolation of Israel in this child with the Nunc dimittis. His song described Jesus as a "light for the nations."

Because of the link between Jesus as the light for the nations, and because an old reading for this festival contains a line from the prophet Zephaniah, "I will search Jerusalem with candles," the day is also known as Candlemas, a day when candles are blessed for the coming year.

O Lord, now let your servant
Depart in heav'nly peace,
For I have seen the glory
Of your redeeming grace:
A light to lead the Gentiles
Unto your holy hill,
The glory of your people,
Your chosen Israel.
Then grant that I may follow
Your gleam, O glorious Light,
Till earthly shadows scatter,
And faith is changed to sight;
Till raptured saints shall gather
Upon that shining shore,
Where Christ, the blessed daystar,
Shall light them evermore.
Ernest E. Ryden

2 comments:

Kevin said...

"Festival of the psychic rodent." Excellent phrase.

kgp

LutheranChik said...

I wonder how many churches actually bless their candles on Candlemas?

I am enough of a church geek, if I were a pastor I'd be doing stuff like this all the time, even if I were the only person in the building. Actually, what would probably happen would be the secretary or some of the church ladies watching from afar as I performed various rituals, shaking their heads and wondering if they should bring this up at the next council meeting.;-)