Candlemas, or the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
2nd of February
We are fortunate that this year a date which has been held in honour by the Church since its earliest years falls on a Sunday, which gives us a chance to celebrate it properly. The Second of February is the moment in the Church’s year when it remembers the day, not long after the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, when his parents bring their baby up to the Temple in Jerusalem to perform the customary sacrifice for a male child who opens the womb; and in this ordinary act encounter the extraordinary figures of Anna and Simeon, who in their different ways recognise the saving divinity n Christ and give thanks that they have lived long enough for this moment of encounter with their saviour.
This year we are doubly favoured in that on the 2nd of February, at 1100 in St Mary’s Cleobury we will welcome Alistair, Bishop of Ludlow to lead our worship for a final moment before he retires on Easter Sunday. Alistair has walked with us on our pilgrimage with Christ for the last eleven years, and has been a good shepherd to us in that time.
When Bishop Alistair joins us at Candlemas to lead us in worship he will break bread to remind us of our unity in the body of Christ, and will lead us together in a renewal of our baptismal vows, which is especially significant at this moment in the year. In Christ there is always an opportunity for a new start.... think about taking it!