Have you taken down your Christmas decorations? According to ancient tradition next week – the feast of Candlemas – is the time to do it. As the medieval carol says:
Make we myrth
For Crystes byrth,
And sing we yole tyl Candelmes
Or as Robert Herrick wrote in the 17th century:
Down with the bays and misletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas hal
This Sunday and Tuesday, February 2, the Cathedral will celebrate the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple when Simeon spoke the words of the Nunc Dimittis recognising Jesus as ‘A Light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.’ In the Middle Ages candles were lit and blessed in the church so this day became known as Candlemas. In our services the congregation will hold lighted candles, praying that “we, who light up this temple to your glory, may have the darkness of our souls dispelled”.
Candlemas coincides with ancient pagan festivals of light for it occurs at the mid point of winter, half way between the winter solstice (shortest day) and the spring equinox. People believed that Candlemas predicted the weather: “If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, winter won’t come again.” – what a fascinating medieval precursor of Groundhog Day. Let’s hope that the weather will be nasty, but not nasty enough to prevent you coming to the sung Eucharist for Candlemas at 12:15!
During the Candlemas service the priest says “We turn from the crib to the cross.”
Lent begins on February 10 with Ash Wednesday Eucharists and the imposition of ashes at 7:30am, 12:15pm (choral), and 7:30pm (choral).
The evening before, Shrove Tuesday (Feb. 9), you are all invited to the traditional pancake supper organised by George Deare, 6 pm in Fulford Hall. Please speak to George or Flo Tracy if you would like to help set-up, cook, serve or clean up.
If you like to include some study in your Lent discipline, there is a Lent course at 6pm on Mondays, Feb. 15-March 14 & April 4 from 6-9pm in Fulford Hall. It costs $40 forthe book and suppers. To register contact Rhonda or call the office.
A lot of attention is being paid these days to the ideas of reconciliation and peacemaking. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has given us a wonderful opportunity to heal wounds and build a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. On Feb 7, after the 10am service, SJAG will be inviting members of the congregation to help us choose one of the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action to be a focus of our attention for the coming year. Please join SJAG in doing our part to make the promise of the TRC a reality.
Coincidentally, PWRDF has been thinking along the same lines. At their meeting on January 14 the members of the Montreal Unit decided that the focus of their Annual General Meeting and Supper will be the calls to action which can be found at http://www.trc.ca/websites/reconciliation/index.php?p=312
The next meeting of the Montreal Unit of PWRDF is Thursday, Feb 11 at noon.
Amnesty International is also calling for action on a number of issues, including some concerning the first nations people. Go the website www.amnesty.ca and scroll down to the heading Human Rights Agenda to see the actions they are urging upon the government. The next meeting of Amnesty letter writing here in the Cathedral will be on Sunday February 14 after the 10am Eucharist when you can write letters or sign postcards to speak out against injustice.
We are delighted to learn that Michael Lapsley who delivered a public address at the cathedral last August 1 has just been awarded a Public Peace Prize. His citation reads: “Michael Lapsley,a priest from South Africa who works with victims as well as authors of apartheid and other forms of repression and exclusion, is publicly recognized for his disarming strength that has transformed wounds into powerful healing and reconciliation…It is warmly recommended he be recognized as Global Peace and Reconcilliation Internationally Reputed Peacemaker for the 2016 Public Peace Prize.” If you were at the talk, you may remember that although he had lost both hands when a letter bomb blew up he continued to work for peace and reconciliation in spite of the danger to his life.
Rhonda was instrumental in organising Michel’s visit to the cathedral. We are going to miss her very much when she leaves for Ottawa at the end of February. Her last Sunday with us will be February 21st. If you would like to contribute to a farewell gift for her, please put your contribution in the offertory, marked “Rhonda Waters Farewell” or hand it to Robert King.
Finally, five dates for your diary and a warning!
- L’Oasis Musicale: Saturday, January 30th at 4:30 pm: Seelenstimme: featuring works for solo piano by J.S. Bach and A. Scriabin. Pianist Karl Hirzer will then be joined by mezzo-soprano Charlotte Jefferies to perform Alban Berg’s ” Sieben Frühe Lieder” and Mozart’s “Ch’io mi scordi di te”. Details http://loasismusicale2.blogspot.ca/
- Lunch’n Chat: a potluck lunch and fellowship in the Hollis Lounge (on the second floor at 1444 Union Avenue) at noon Tuesday February 2nd. Please confirm attendance with the Cathedral office by Monday morning, Feb 1st.
- The Cathedral Reading Group will meet at 7 pm on February 7th to discuss All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews and on March 6 to discuss Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. If you like reading and talking about books, please join us. Speak to Ann, Jane, Diana, Donna or Helen to find out where.
- Some way off, but very important – The annual vestry meeting will be held on Sunday, March 6, 2016 in Fulford Hall after the10am Eucharist.
- The warning – no more parking in the cathedral forecourt unless you have a pass. The cost is $100 for the year. Passes for 2016 are available from the vergers. Starting February 1st the parking policy will be strictly enforced.
In WH Auden’s verse play, For The Time Being, written in 1942 Simeon speaks these words :
“Our redemption is no longer a question of pursuit,
but of surrender to Him who is always and
everywhere present. Therefore at every moment
we pray that, following Him, we may depart from
our anxiety into His peace.“