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Friday, February 1, 2019
Saturday, February 2, 2019
Sunday, February 3, 2019THE PRESENTATION (CANDLEMAS)
Candlemas is always the 40th day of Christmas, or February 2, when, according to the Gospel of Luke, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple. In 2018, in addition to celebrating Candlemas on Friday, February 2, we also are celebrating on Sunday, February 4 so that the maximum number of people can participate and so that we can hear music associated with the feast day.
Here is the account beginning at verse 22 of Luke, chapter 2:
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (as it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. This passage reveals not only yet another epiphany (another revelation that this Jesus is Christ), but it also gives our tradition a great Christmas gift: Simeon's Song, also known as the Nunc dimittis, which the choir sings at every Choral Evensong.
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thee that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Monday, February 4, 2019Anskar
Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden
d. February 3, 865
In Sketches of Church History (published in 1904 by SPCK, London), J. C. Robertson writes of Anskar:
In the north of Germany, in Denmark, and in Sweden, Anskar, who had been a monk at Corbey, on the Weser, laboured for thirty-nine years with earnest devotion and with great success (AD 826-865). In addition to preaching the Gospel of salvation, he did much in such charitable works as the building of hospitals and the redemption of captives; and he persuaded the chief men of the country north of the Elba to give up their trade in slaves, which had been a source of great profit to them, but which Anskar taught them to regard as contrary to the Christian religion. Anskar was made archbishop of Hamburg and Bremen, and is styled "The Apostle of the North."
But he had to suffer many dangers and reverses in his endeavours to do good. At one time, when Hamburg was burnt by the Northmen, he lost his church, his monastery, his library, and other property; but he only said, with the patriarch Job, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!" Then he set to work again, without being discouraged by what had befallen him, and he even made a friend of the heathen king who had led the attack on Hamburg.
Anskar died in the year 865. It is told that when some of his friends were talking of miracles which he was supposed to have done, he said, "If I were worthy in my Lord's sight, I would ask of Him to grant me one miracle--that He would make me a good man."
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst send thy servant Anskar as an apostle to the people of Scandinavia, and didst enable him to lay a firm foundation for their conversion, though he did not see the results of his labors: Keep thy Church from discouragement in the day of small things, knowing that when thou hast begun a good work thou wilt bring it to a fruitful conclusion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.