This morning we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the temple at Jerusalem. Luke the evangelist tells us that Jesus was presented in the house of God, as the Law of Moses required. He also records how the Christ-child was greeted by Simeon and Anna, two figures who represented Israel’s longing to see the Redeemer promised by God. The evangelist gave Simeon a song to sing, the Nunc dimittis, which acclaims Jesus as the saving Light of God. To symbolize the enlightening truth of Christ the western Church developed the custom of blessing candles on this feast — hence its other title, Candlemas. The presentation of Mary’s child, however, was different from most. This was the Christ Child, Jesus, the Savior, the Messiah who had been promised. “Thus the image of light carries an important part in today’s liturgy and links itself with the Christmas season and its lights of the Advent wreath, the decorative tree lights, and the many candles of the Nativity celebration.
The question for our congregation: How would an unexpected visit from the Lord challenge the practices in which we have grown comfortable? In the Anglican Church, it is certainly easy to become complacent with arrangements and practices once established. This applies to our Sunday Services, to our congregational governance, and to the presence we exercise in our larger communities. If the Lord came today for a surprised, unannounced visitation at St. Michael’s, would we pass muster in the area of contextual worship, parish and diocesan self-administration, zealous mission and witness to the rest of the world? (Resources: For all the Saints) Fr. Louie.