Traditionally known as Candlemas, our service on 1 February 2015 marked the end of the seasons of Christmas and Epiphany. This is when we turn away from the exuberance of celebrating the birth of Christ – Emmanuel, God with us in human form, and begin to turn towards the profundity of Lent and in due course Easter.
Our side chapel shows Simeon and Anna and includes the opening words of the Nunc dimittis ‘Lord now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word’. You can read the full story in Luke’s gospel (Chp 2 v 22-39).
The service ends with a procession to the main door of the church and the following prayer and exhortation:
Father, here we bring to an end our celebration of the Saviour’s birth.
Help us, in whom he has been born, to live his life that has no end.
Here we have offered the church’s sacrifice of praise
Help us,who have received the bread of life, to be thankful for your gift.
Here we have rejoiced with faithful Simeon and Anna.
Help us, who have found the Lord in his temple, to trust in your eternal promises.
Here we have greeted the light of the world.
Help us, who bear these candles, never to forsake the light of Christ.
Here we stand near the place of baptism.
Help us, who are marked with the cross, to share the Lord’s death and resurrection.
Here we turn from Christ’s birth to his passion
Help us, for whom Lent is near, to enter deeply into the Easter mystery.
Here we bless one another in your name.
Help us, who now go in peace,
to shine with your light in the world.
Thanks be to God. Amen.