The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Almighty and ever living God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Luke 2:22 -24 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord, Though often times overlooked by many we at St Elizabeth’s follow a tradition of observance. The ceremonies often times are built around the traditions of candles being blessed and distributed as a reminder of the Light of Christ that came into the world. It is celebrated 40 days after Easter and for us it provides a rich opportunity to look back at Christmas while looking forward to the 40 days of Lent.
In many ways its carries a powerful message of the willingness to carry light into the darkness as one fulfills the mission of Christ in the world. The Feast of Presentation gave us some many rich moments which are captured in the canticle called Nunc Dimmittis or the Song of Simeon which celebrates the fulfillment of a life of longing, hope and faith.
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, *
according to thy word;
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, *
which thou hast prepared before the face of all people,
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, *
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
My friends in the midst of much darkness which surrounds at times it can be quite easy for us to lose hope. WE dwell in a time when at the very start of Black History Month virtual terror is being unleased upon HBCU’s. Teachers are now facing increasing challenges to engage in traditional Black History month observances as they are threatened by fear mongering mobs based upon misinformation and racism.
My friends I find it quite poignant that even as Simeon and the Prophetess Anna shout in acclamation at the arrival of Jesus as their long-awaited fulfillment and yet this does not in any way removes the clouds of trepidation in the Holy Family. A family struggling with ethnic and economic challenges which in many ways reflect those of our urban communities. Joseph’s inability to provide a lamb as the tradition requires most resort to the second-tier demand of two turtle doves is bold testimony not only of their poverty but the desire to fulfill that which is expected. One can speak both about stewardship of faith hope and financial sacrificial giving but even beyond that is the powerful message of God’s dependency of willing people to carry His light and presence into the darkness if the world.
May this Candlemas Day be one of renewed faith and the willingness to carry the light of Christ into the darkness of the world no matter the cost for Jesus in the end is both the price and the reward.