Candlemas Reflection for Abbey News

From one hymn of praise to another. In the Christmas edition of Abbey News Fr. Kevin reflected on Mary’s song ‘My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour’ (Luke 1: 46-47) repeated every evening in countless different settings by our choirs. And for this edition, as we celebrate Candlemas, we have another hymn, also repeated every evening, in countless different settings by our choirs, ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word’ (Luke 2: 29).

The song of Simeon otherwise known as the Nunc Dimittis is a calmer, sombre song of praise then that of Mary’s. It’s a song of fulfilment and of a hope satisfied. Simeon, described as a righteous and devout man, had waited for many years in hopeful expectation. He’d waited for the anointed, the chosen one from God. He’d waited, with God’s assurance that he would not see death until he had seen the Messiah.

The words are so familiar to many of us that it is easy to lose the impact of them and the experience the Simeon went through. He has waited for so long and, being human, he probably despaired at times. Would God’s promised Saviour truly arrive in his lifetime? Perhaps he’d just imagined that God had spoken to him. But, whatever his feelings, he kept on waiting faithfully.

Candlemas is a pivotal celebration in the churches year. It’s a time when we can look back on what has been and look ahead to what will be. In the church that means looking behind us to Christmas and the celebrations of the birth of Christ, and ahead to Christ’s passion, and the promises of Easter.

And for us?

There is certainly a lot we can learn from Simeon’s patient, faithful waiting. It is easy to hold onto our faith when God feels close and his plan is very clear. But we all go through times when our vision of God fades, and there are times when all we feel is His absence. When prayer feels like a waste of energy and time. It is at these times when we can turn to Simeon and take his example of holding on day by day, watching , with no apparent signs of change, in the expectation that God is about to act.

We can also remember and rejoice that Simeon’s faith was rewarded by the sight, sound and touch of the infant Christ and was given a time to act.

‘Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what is customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…then Simeon blessed them.’ (Luke 2. 27-28 & v34a)

For each of us there are times for waiting and there are times for action, and Simeon gives us an example of this crossover, this move to action. As we approach Lent, many of us will make this transition and act; to join home groups and Lent courses, to vowing to make changes in our lives by the giving up of luxurious treats for a period of time, to raise money for worthy causes, or to start preparations for confirmation.

What will your action be?

From one hymn of praise to another. In the Christmas edition of Abbey News Fr. Kevin reflected on Mary’s song ‘My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour’ (Luke 1: 46-47) repeated every evening in countless different settings by our choirs. And for this edition, as we celebrate Candlemas, we have another hymn, also repeated every evening, in countless different settings by our choirs, ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word’ (Luke 2: 29).

The song of Simeon otherwise known as the Nunc Dimittis is a calmer, sombre song of praise then that of Mary’s. It’s a song of fulfilment and of a hope satisfied. Simeon, described as a righteous and devout man, had waited for many years in hopeful expectation. He’d waited for the anointed, the chosen one from God. He’d waited, with God’s assurance that he would not see death until he had seen the Messiah.

The words are so familiar to many of us that it is easy to lose the impact of them and the experience the Simeon went through. He has waited for so long and, being human, he probably despaired at times. Would God’s promised Saviour truly arrive in his lifetime? Perhaps he’d just imagined that God had spoken to him. But, whatever his feelings, he kept on waiting faithfully.

Candlemas is a pivotal celebration in the churches year. It’s a time when we can look back on what has been and look ahead to what will be. In the church that means looking behind us to Christmas and the celebrations of the birth of Christ, and ahead to Christ’s passion, and the promises of Easter.

And for us?

There is certainly a lot we can learn from Simeon’s patient, faithful waiting. It is easy to hold onto our faith when God feels close and his plan is very clear. But we all go through times when our vision of God fades, and there are times when all we feel is His absence. When prayer feels like a waste of energy and time. It is at these times when we can turn to Simeon and take his example of holding on day by day, watching , with no apparent signs of change, in the expectation that God is about to act.

We can also remember and rejoice that Simeon’s faith was rewarded by the sight, sound and touch of the infant Christ and was given a time to act.

‘Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what is customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…then Simeon blessed them.’ (Luke 2. 27-28 & v34a)

For each of us there are times for waiting and there are times for action, and Simeon gives us an example of this crossover, this move to action. As we approach Lent, many of us will make this transition and act; to join home groups and Lent courses, to vowing to make changes in our lives by the giving up of luxurious treats for a period of time, to raise money for worthy causes, or to start preparations for confirmation.

What will your action be?

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Resurrection

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Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1-10)

Do not be afraid! Death will never have the last word. Jesus is alive. Alleluia!

Bishop of Bangor – Easter Message

This Easter seems to be one for firsts. My bishop this morning has released two different Easter messages (one first), one written and the other a video (another first).

The video is filmed in various locations around the diocese, (Bangor Cathedral, St. Seiriol’s Well, and Penmon beach), and ‘it follows the story of Jesus’ death, resurrection and appearances after his resurrection and examines the meaning of these events’.

Great to see even more advancements into the 21st century and the diocese using new methods of communicating the good news of the Gospel.

Family Service Easter 2

Has anyone ever told you something that you didn’t believe?

Sometimes its hard to believe things if you only hear about them from someone else.

Last week we celebrated Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead. And we heard that all the disciples were told about it. Today we heard the Jesus came to them and told them not be sad, but to be happy, because he brings them peace, they should be happy.

But one of his friends wasn’t there, Thomas missed this meeting with Jesus and found it hard to believe that he actually came back.

Sometimes its hard to believe things we are told.

If I told you there was something yummy hiding in our Easter garden that someone here can have, would you believe me?

Does anyone want to look?

I was telling the truth!!!!!!

You didn’t know for sure unless you went to see though, and that was the same for Thomas, he couldn’t believe his friends until he saw Jesus for himself.

Sometimes its hard to believe that God loves us, and is there for us all the time. Having faith is sometimes really hard, and sometimes we need to see before we can believe. But Jesus isn’t walking around now like he was back them with his disciples, with his friends. So how can we believe.

We can believe by looking around us, at the world God created for us, at the family and friends around us who love us and take care for us, at all the people in the past who have told us about Jesus and all the things God has done to help us. We can believe when we see people doing what Jesus taught us, loving, caring, sharing, taking care of, being a peace with others.

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Easter Roadshow

Easter Roadshow

Last Christmas a number of clergy from Ardudwy Deanery and Llŷn & Eifionydd Deanary got together to organise and run a Christmas roadshow which went around different churches, inviting schools to bring their children for a half day of activities, films and drama which helped tell the Christmas story.

This year it is just the clergy from Ardudwy Deanery, but over the three weeks leading to the school half term, they will tell around 450 children the events of the first Holy Week and the first Easter using film, games, craft and drama.

Is been really exciting to be part of the organising team this time, last Christmas I only helped with the technical side, but it’s been really interesting to see things from the other side and how easy the organisation has been. In reality it would be very difficult to put on an event like this on your own, but because we work in a team it has made it all possible. It’s great to bounce ideas around and develop something that will both engage the kids and explain to them the story and importance of Christ’s death and resurrection.

We pray for the children we meet, their families and teachers, that they will find new joy in the easter season, and come to a new and deeper relationship with Christ.

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