Today we marked Candlemas, or the Presentation of Christ in the temple (Luke 2:22-40) (Alternatively, Candlemas may be marked this coming Thursday or next Sunday).
There was a really moving moment at the end of our service this morning, as some seventy or so people moved from their pews to gather around the large, marble font, holding lit candles, and singing the Nunc dimittis. Old people—like Simeon and Anna in the temple. Young parents—like Mary and Joseph bringing the six-week old Jesus to the temple—juggling their baby on one arm, a candle in the other hand. A scattering of Malaysians, Nigerians, and a good number of Iranians alongside the British—for the child in our midst is a light to lighten the gentile nations.
It felt like a minority community who finds and strengthens its identity in its ritual. And it seemed to me that this is a very good place for the Church of England to find itself right now. Not taking a defensive, inward-looking stance; but rediscovering itself.