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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Lent & Easter 2019 issue

From the Vicar, Fr Dr Colin Lawlor

On February 3rd we celebrated the Feast of Candlemas, when we reflect upon the presentation of Christ in the Temple in Jerusalem, and the recognition by the elderly Simeon and Anna of Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah. When Simeon encounters Jesus he declares:

‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’

The significance of Simeon’s words reveal that Jesus is the Messiah of all of God’s people, not just those of Jewish descent, but Gentiles, that is non-Jews, as well.

This public recognition in the Jewish Temple, for Christians, marks the end of the Christmas season. And we celebrated this with a shared lunch after our 10am Eucharist on that day.

There is a sense in which Candlemas offers us the opportunity to look back over these past weeks of Christmastide, giving thanks to God for the gift of his son, and the fun and joy I hope we all experienced over the Christmas season. For me it has been a particular time of blessing, as I celebrated my first Christmas with you as Vicar of Waterlooville. It was a particular joy to see so many people join us over the season to celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

However, Candlemas is not just a time for looking back with joyful reflection. In fact it forms a kind of pivotal role in the Christian year. The clue to this comes in the words of Simeon when he tells Mary that ‘a sword will pierce your own soul too’.

Simeon is reflecting upon what will happen to her first born son, the child whom he has just declared to be the light of the world. He is, of course, referring to the crucifixion. And so whilst Christmas has ended we are reminded that Lent is just around the corner (this year, with Easter very late, it is still less than a month away).

Soon we will metaphorically journey with Christ as he embarks on the road once more to Jerusalem, the very place where he was, as a baby, presented in the Temple. But this time he will be going to endure betrayal, rejection, torture and crucifixion – before his glorious resurrection on Easter Day.

And so whilst Candlemas affords us the opportunity to take one last look back to Christmas, the words of Simeon also reminds us that now we begin to turn toward the cross.

With my best wishes and prayers

Fr Colin.