The Presentation of Christ – Candlemas Readings and Prayers

31st January Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas)

The Collect:  Almighty and ever-living God, clothed in majesty, whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple, in substance of our flesh: grant that we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts, by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. All: Amen

The Epistle is written in the 14th verse of the 2nd chapter of St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews:

Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death ~ that is, the devil ~ and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels He helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.  This is the Word of the Lord  All: Thanks be to God

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Luke:  Glory to You, O Lord

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.

This is the Gospel of the Lord:  All: Praise to You, O Christ

Prayers

Loving Lord, today as we recall the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and the beginnings of a life of love and service to all men and women, we open our hearts and minds to Him and bring our cares and concerns for your world and your people.
Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Our world is marked out by greed and selfishness and by the inhumanity which is so much part of our lives and those of everybody around us. Help us to learn how to put the needs of others more firmly before our own. May those who exercise power and authority in our communities use it wisely, and may we, and they, serve the Lord with gladness.
Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

The world into which Jesus was born was like our own, divided by war and disease. We read daily and see and hear news of fighting in so many places. We pray that  green shoots of hope may blossom into a lasting peace. We remember all those other countries, known and unknown where fighting is part and parcel of daily life. We ask for peace in those places and that we may be peacemakers wherever we can. Lord in your mercy: hear our pray

Almighty and all merciful Lord, the comfort of the sad, and the strength of all who suffer. We pray for all who will receive their vaccine in these coming days, giving thanksgiving for the skills and ingenuity of our medics, administrators and scientists. We pray for resilience and courage for all within our N.H.S whilst thanking them for their sacrifice and diligence. We offer all to you who we know have need of You. Those who are sick, those in hospital; those who are lonely or depressed, those who have no family help. Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

For all who have lost loved ones from Covid-19 bless them and give them comfort and assurance, and give us courage to do what we can to help. Give your grace and strength to all whose life is built round caring for others.
Lord in Your mercy: hear our prayer

Lord God we pray for ourselves; as we begin the week ahead, we ask that in all we do, we may we walk more closely with you at our side safe in the knowledge that your fatherly love and care knows no bounds.

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen