Sunday, February 2 was the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, but more importantly it was the feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, commonly called The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin. Bishop Hartley explained that in Jewish law the 40th day after the birth (in this case after Christmas) it was the custom for the first-born son to be taken to the temple to be dedicated and for the new mother to be ritually cleansed or purified. In English tradition it was also called Candlemas and was the day on which candles were blessed for use in the church. The theme of the prayers and scripture readings for this day is presentation, as summed up in the Collect prayer: “as thy only-begotten son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts…” Just as Jesus was presented (or dedicated) to God by his parents, so we are presented to God by Jesus. The means by which we do this is the church and the Christian community.
We had an unpleasant surprise after church in the snow that had fallen during the service, making the roads bad and travel difficult. Some of our members who live at a distance had long and difficult journeys home Sunday afternoon but everyone made it home safely and we are thankful for that. We had planned on resuming Wednesday evening services this week, but the weather will probably prevent it.
For information on St. Francis Anglican (Traditional Episcopal) Church visit our website at stfrancisavamo.org.