Rector’s News

//Rector’s News
Rector’s News2020-01-29T11:49:48+00:00

   Rector’s News February 2020

February is often a month of change and we hope we’ll see the first signs of spring at this time. February also marks the move from the end of the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany seasons to the beginning of Lent.

Epiphany ends with ‘The Presentation of Christ in the Temple’ on 2nd February, or ‘Candlemas’. Why this name? This was due to its being the feast-day when traditionally the candles to be used both in church and in people’s homes throughout the year were blessed. This brings us to the gospel story for Candlemas.

People can be puzzled that the baby Jesus reappears over a month after Christmas Day. Surely this all ended with the Wise Men at Epiphany? Not quite! In Luke’s Gospel, chapter 2, Jesus is brought by his parents to the Temple in Jerusalem, where he is ‘presented’, and sacrifices to God are offered for him.

According to Jewish Law – which, as observant Jews, Joseph and Mary follow – this takes place forty days after the child’s birth. Hence 2nd February – forty days after Christmas. While the Holy Family is in the Temple, they are met by two people -Simeon, who is almost certainly a priest, and a prophet called Anna. Both of them have been waiting and praying for God to bring his salvation and redemption – his freedom and justice – through his Messiah (which means ‘God’s Anointed’) who will bring in God’s promised kingdom. Both Simeon and Anna talk to Mary and Joseph about the great significance of their young child.

Through the power of God’s Spirit, Simeon realizes that this child is the one promised by God, and he takes the child in his arms and says a prayer – we know it as the‘Nunc Dimittis’. This title is just the first two words in Latin of the song itself.  It became quite quickly a key part of the Church’s worship:

“Now, Lord, you let your servant goin peace: your word has been fulfilled. My 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.”

Simeon understands that Jesus is and will be the Light of the world – a phrase, of course, that the adult Jesus uses about himself. Candlemas has a ‘bitter-sweet’ quality as it simultaneously points backwards to Christmas (our last look back at Christmas as it marks the end of the Christmas season) and forward to Jesus’ passion and the cross.  Because of this, Candlemas has also sometimes been described as a pivotal moment in the Christian year.  Pivotal moments are times when we are called to take stock and to discern where God might be leading us.  Simeon was utterly surprised that the Messiah was in the form of a vulnerable baby.  Will we allow God to surprise us too?

In this edition of the magazine, there is an article about the Crediton Benefice mission Community hosting an event as part of the Joy2020 Bishops in Mission initiative.  Do please read the article and it would be great if we could give our support to the event on the afternoon of Friday 20th March.

Our annual Stewardship Lunch will take place on Sunday 16th February 2020.  This offers us an opportunity to meet together over a delicious lunch.  Please do give your wholehearted support to this and let’s all prayerfully consider our level of giving for the coming year.

And… finally… I’d like to thank you all for your generosity in contributions to Helen’s leaving gift.  I’d also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who made her final Sunday with us such a memorable occasion.  It was good to see so many people present, both at the services that day and also at the lunch and is a testimony to the high regard in which we hold her.  We shall certainly miss her!

Your friend and Rector

Matthew Tregenza

Photographs © Bill Jerman