Dear Friends in Christ—
On Sunday, we will observe the Feast of the Presentation in the Temple. In doing so, we are
breaking the rules. But we are doing it with good cause.
To explain, I have to delve a bit into liturgical nerdery, which is one of my favorite things to do.
The calendar for the church year is found on page 15 of the prayer book. It outlines how the
church year works—which are the big celebrations, which are the smaller ones, and what to do
if there’s a conflict. Certain feast days, if they fall on a Sunday, “take precedence.” For
example, if August 6 happens to be a Sunday, we celebrate that day (with the corresponding
lessons) rather than the 486 th Sunday after Pentecost, or whatever day it might be.
Candlemas does not take precedence. By celebrating it rather than the 5 th Sunday after
Epiphany, we are cheating a little.
But—it’s for good reasons.
Partly, we are observing a feast that makes deep sense in the life of this parish. On Candlemas,
we follow the custom of blessing candles that are to be used in the church in the coming year, a
reference to “the light to enlighten the Gentiles” of Luke 2:32. Celebrating our “thin place” and
the redemptive power of holiness makes sense in this community.
But even more importantly, we are observing a feast the meets a deep need in our world.
Candlemas is connected to other days of light—the Feast of Saint Bride, the pagan Imbolc, and
even Groundhog Day. It comes at a moment that we are looking for hope. It comes as we are
weary of winter and need to proclaim that darkness will not last.
Will we be in church this Sunday? Likely not. COVID rates are falling fast, but I suspect it will be
the 13th or later before we can be in the sanctuary.
But do we need to remind one another and the world around us that light is coming to
enlighten us? Absolutely. And that light may come from our sanctuary, but it does not depend
on that sanctuary or stay in that sanctuary.
I hope you will join us for worship, whether on livestream or in the amphitheater. But I hope
you will take what hope you are given there out into the rest of your week and into the rest of
Yours in Christ,