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Reflection for Candlemass

A reflection for Candlemas

Today’s reading from Luke tells us of God’s law and God’s spirit working in harmony.


Imagine you were at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on an international rugby day and you meet someone you have never seen – someone who is the hope of a nation and talked about for a couple of centuries  and you know who they are

That is the equivalent of the encounter that both Simeon and Anna have independently with the baby Jesus at what was one of the marvels of the first century world, The huge temple recently completed by Herod – a place where people of all nations met – a place so holy that its was a place of pilgrimage

As the religious law required Mary and Joseph took their baby to the temple- so that Mary could through the sacrifice of two doves or pigeons could become ritually clean from the unclean state that childbirth . Being ritually clean allowed her to be in the presence of God

As the first born Jesus belonged to God – however since the escape from Egypt the requirement for him to serve as a priest had been changed to paying a tax to support the priestly class – paying for the redemption of the first born

Then thirdly the child is dedicated to God


I have no idea how may children were brought to the temple every day – how many in a year

All who brought their children to the temple giving up time, labour – their savings to travel – all to make themselves prepared so that they  could  worship their and our God.

We can see though the personal sacrifice of dedication both in Simeon and in Anna to the expectation of a Messiah – a saving action of God whose son will illuminate the world.

But it is the coming together of the sacrifice of oneself to the service of God in prayer and in obedience to his will that allows the spirit to enable both Simeon and Anna to recognise out of all  the visitors

It is in our sacrifice of ourselves- the use of the gifts that we have been given –  in our obedience to Gods law – to love God and one another – that we too will be moved by the spirit to recognise the face of Jesus in this world.


Rev John Searl