Sometimes we need to forget our pretence to uniqueness, and look for our salvation and our purpose in the ordinary and the mundane.
The end of Christmas on Sunday, the beginning of Lent on Wednesday. It’s been a hundred years since the junction of the two seasons has been so close, and it won’t happen again this century. It helps us see the connection between the two seasons very clearly, for at the heart of the feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, Candlemas, is a pointer to Holy Week, Simeon’s prophecy to Mary:
‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
The Church of England’s Common Worship provides an eucharistic preface for Candlemas which skilfully forges the link to Good Friday:
Destined for the falling and rising of many,
he was lifted high upon the cross
and a sword of sorrow pierced his mother’s heart
when by his sacrifice he made our peace with you.
But there is something more going on than just a foreshadowing of the passion in St Luke’s account of the encounter in the Temple. For Luke, Simeon and Anna are not just mouthpieces for prophecy: they are important people in their own right. Continue reading