Dear Friends and Neighbours,
As well as remembering the presentation of the Child Jesus in the temple, Candlemas was also a celebration of the point that there were enough candles for all of the worship for the next twelve months. Often times, the whole years supply of candles was gathered in the Church and a Service of Thanksgiving was held. It was yet another opportunity for the community to gather. The opportunity for our community to gather continues to happen each and every Sunday, and on Wednesday evenings too. Our services are just that, opportunities to gather that are there for us all.
The primary focus of our Services is to give thanks and praise. They are also an opportunity to stop and appreciate what we have in life, who we are in life and to begin to understand just how loved we are. It's why Weddings, Christenings and the sharing of a simple meal are key moments both in our lives and in the life of the Church. Occasionally God shows us His love directly in a Service. I have a friend who has what she describes as "White Light Moments" when she is at a service in Church, but more often God will show God's love through the care, the warmth and the hospitality of those who have gathered with us. So an attitude of gratitude is key.
Like the gathering of any fishing fleet, there is also an opportunity to combine our strength in our prayers; both for our world and for ourselves. While working in our own strength we will only ever influence those areas of life that we have a direct hand in. When we go to God in prayer, the Creator of the Universe has the power to influence the circumstances surrounding the situation that we are concerned about. It's why 'answered prayer' looks so different from the answer we may have had in mind when we first "got on our knees" as it were. The peace that comes with prayer is well known and candles are often used as a point of focus in prayers, and the use of candles and their position in church has evolved over the years.
They were there primarily so that those who had to read could do so. The candles on the altar were there for exactly this reason, and so they would have been stood either side of the book or book stand, rather than symmetrically at each end of the altar. In the pews, there would have been what looked like tridents, bolted to a number of pews, with a candle on each prong, to help the parishioners to see. The lighting of a candle for individual prayer is often accompanied by some silence; if not in the mind, certainly around the action of doing so. It was in the silence of people coming down, from whatever they had self medicated on the night before, in which the greatest work was done while working with homeless drug dependants.
So, we can see that in many ways we are linked even when we are not in the same room. So, it comes as a huge sadness whenever I hear or experience people being interested in themselves or their own family members ahead of everyone else. It's as if they have forgotten that it is everyone around them that helps the place that we live in to be the amazing place that it is. Doing our bit for those around us is a lovely way of thanking them. Perhaps this is why voluntary work can be so rewarding. It is also another aspect of our True Life in God. So, whatever you are up to this month, may you know God's peace and His love for you.
With best wishes and prayers
If you have anything that you would like our village prayer group to pray for please telephone 790088 or