Candlemas concludes the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. The presentation of Jesus in the temple represents Jesus as the Light of the World. All the prophesies have been fulfilled.
The readings emphasise His power and victory over death. ‘To free those who were held in slavery by the fear of death.’ And the promise to Simeon that he would not see death until he had seen the Messiah. Here in Heath and Reach, this weekend and next weekend, is the pantomime, so I want to use the PANTO ‘everything I ever wanted to know I learned from Panto!’
So what might P stand for? Dozens of people are involved to make a pantomime happen. So P stands for participation. Participate in whatever is going on in your community. Did you ever hear people complain, ‘nothing ever happens around here, or no one ever does anything?’ Our churches are uniquely placed to be a catalyst for community building.
What might A stand for? Act!! Actually there is not a lot of acting involved in Panto!!! The diocese is emphasising Lay Leadership and encouraging everyone, the 98% of church goers to exercise everyone’s talents, skills and abilities for the growth of the kingdom.
What might N stand for? Never say never; I know I have had to eat these words one time or another. There is an insight that says ‘resolving conflicts and keeping right relationships are the keys to a meaningful life.’ Don’t back yourself into a corner or burn your bridges. Find ways of keeping the channels of communication open.
What might T stand for? Try but don’t try to hard. It’s like learning your lines for the Panto. Learn them, practice them, and relax and enjoy the show. If you are enjoying it then the audience will too. When you try to hard at anything you make mistakes.
What might O stand for? Standing ovation! That is what we all crave for on the stage. O, in the context of the readings today invites us to overcome our anxieties and fear, especially around death. Every time I get to visit St. Alban’s Cathedral I visit the Ramryge chapel which has six Angels that illuminate the stages of bereavement process. Each Angel is designed to represent denial, anger, depression, bargaining, acceptance and peace. And you can purchase a pack in the book shop.
Today’s feast of Candlemas places the primary Christian symbol of light at the end of this season so the light might illumine the rest of the year for us.
Today is day 29 of the year. Instead of beginning the new months from one, why not count the days of the years, to remind us how precious each day is.
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