The Presentation of Christ in the Temple

We welcome you in joining us with worship and praise this Fourth Sunday in Epiphany as we celebrate The Presentation of Christ in the Temple. It is with joy that we see the first snowdrops opening up, despite the frosty mornings, surely a sign of new beginnings and hope. Therefore we have chosen this as our photograph for today.

Today we are led in worship by Rev Jake Dejonge. Our main prayers are written by our intercessions team and an anthem and hymn has been chosen to link with today’s worship which we hope you will enjoy.

Opening Prayer

Almighty and ever-living God,
we humbly beseech thy majesty,
that, 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,
by thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Readings

Old Testament: Malachi 3: 1-5
New Testament: Hebrews 2: 14-end
Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22-40


The Sermon

“…Mary and Joseph brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.”

With today’s feast, the real date is of course 2nd February, with this feast of ‘The Presentation of Christ in the temple’, also known as ’Candlemas’, we celebrate that Simeon, devout servant of the God of Israel, grown old and grey in his service in the temple, is blessed with the fullness of the Spirit of the Living God and finds peace.

In seeing Mary’s child, Simeon, more than ever before, and he has seen plenty couples with their babies, but this time the wonder of family and generation and life impacts more than ever before and he knows, he is convinced of something very important, it becomes clear what he has thought about, has hoped for, has prayed for: this is the child; this child is it, the fulfilment of an old promise. Now he can die in peace; is is good, God is faithful, God can be trusted. What a relief, what joy.

The light of God’s faithful love continues to shine through the generations, and not only the generations of the Jews, but also the generations of the non-Jews, the heathen, the goi-im, folk like you and me. Today’s feast is a reflection, perhaps even a bit of a repetition of the story of Christmas and Epiphany, (the three kings); the story that in this little child Jesus, God is being presented; that in Jesus he Light of God shines for all people on this earth.

With Christmas and Epiphany we celebrate this principally as a feast of Jesus, son of Mary, son of God, sent to be light and to give light. With the Presentation of Christ there is also already a reference to suffering and death. As Simeon speaks to the amazed parents and blesses them, and then says to Mary: “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed….” And then Simeon says to Mary: “- and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

It is clear that today’s gospel is intended for all generations of families and peoples, those long ago and those living now. In the old Simeon, who held the Messiah in his arms, we see a picture of humanity that continues to long for the eternal youth of this world. As sign of hope for the future, for coming generations, for our children and our grandchildren.

And, yes, Christ has certainly brought that. Confidence and trust in life and in the future. And the challenge to us to want to carry on, to continue, and, in the power of the newness of life which Jesus brings, to take courage and to try to be light ourselves and to bring light in the current world with all the problems, the joys and frustrations, the possibilities and challenges. To be prepared to take responsibility for this generation and the one that will come.

To be ready to pass on the salvation and the expectation of salvation, to be ready to pass it on from father to son, from mother to daughter, from grandparent to grandchild, from brother to sister, from sister to brother, be it family or church.

And not to be too frightened by possible problems or challenges, but, with confidence, to look forward to, and to start to working at what Simeon longed for: “… the consolation of Israel”, the fulfilment of the Spirit of God, the Comforter, among the people. In order to give hope to the people, to bring optimism and confidence in the future, because that future also belongs to God.

Thank goodness, our future also belongs to God; we are so fortunate.



Everlasting God, we thank you for your love and pray for the church, the world and for all in need.
Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Faithful God, we thank you for our church leaders; locally in our Chaplaincy and for our relationship with The Old Catholic Church in whose church we worship in Haarlem. We pray for all who preach your word; inspire, lead and grow us as disciples as we reach out to those in need in our communities and in our world.
Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

God of every land and nation, you spoke your word and revealed your good news in Jesus Christ. We pray for our troubled world its peoples and their leaders. We pray for those caught up in war and violence and hatred; especially the innocent victims. May peace abound and righteousness flourish, that we may vanquish injustice and wrong. We pray for an end to the riots following the coronavirus curfew in the Netherlands. Grant wisdom to all governments and their health authorities that they take appropriate steps for the good of their people.
Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Holy God, although we are sometimes separated by language and culture from the people we live amongst, we long to see your will done here on earth as it is in heaven. We pray for our neighbours, not only with words but day by day, moment by moment, in the things we do and the way we do them.
Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Abundant God, be with those of us that desire and need your restoration and healing. We remember all those who live in the depths of depression and mental illness. Today, we ask for your blessing and healing touch upon them and especially for those affected by the Coronavirus.
Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Merciful God, we bring before you those who have died and we pray for all whose life is saddened by the death of a loved one. Be with them in their loneliness and give them strength.
Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Lord God, we pray for ourselves as we start the week ahead. We ask that in all that we do, we may 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


Anthem and Hymn

The anthem is O Nata Lux – Morten Lauridsen

The hymn is: NEH 408 – Love divine all love excelling


O Lord,
who didst fulfil the hope of Simeon and Anna
that they might live to greet the coming of the Messiah:
grant that we, who have received these inexpressible gifts,
may be prepared to meet Christ Jesus when he shall come
to bring us to eternal life;
for he liveth and reigneth, now and for ever.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.