St Clement Church Community Candlemas Service 31.1.21






         St Clement Church Community Candlemas Service                                



 We are celebrating Candlemas today even though the festival falls on Tuesday 2nd February.

Tomorrow the stable scene and the Christmas tree will be taken down in church. The Christmas season will be over.

As we look back at the last ten months, and think of all the festivals that we didn’t celebrate in church, we should remember and think of the early church in its simplest form that met in people’s homes. Yes, it would have been in small groups but, our continuing to worship but in the quietness of our own homes is, in many ways, taking us back to when and how the Church began.

It will happen – we will be able to go back to our little church and have our services but, in the meantime, close your eyes and join with those early Christians in their praise, prayer and worship.

God Bless

With my love



Let us pray:


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, violence and hatred; especially the innocent victims of these evils. May peace abound and righteousness flourish, so that we may vanquish injustice and wrong. We pray too for the ongoing fight against the Coronavirus Pandemic and for all governments and their health authorities that they take appropriate steps for the good of their people.



Our prayers of Penitence


Lord, you were sent by the Father to bring good news to the poor:


Lord, have mercy.


Christ, you came to save us from sin:


Christ have mercy, have mercy.


Lord, you were sent to proclaim the grace and mercy of God


Lord, have mercy.


May our Almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save sinners, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever.



Old Testament reading:     Malachi 3.  1 – 5

New Testament reading:   Hebrews 2.  14 - 18


Let us pray our Collect for today


Almighty and ever-living God, clothed in majesty, whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple, in substance of our flesh: grant that we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts, by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.



 (Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (2. 22 – 40)

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’


When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’


Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’


And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be but a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’


There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four.

She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day.

At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.


When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.


(This is the Gospel of our Lord.)

Response: Praise to you, O Christ.




I don’t know about you but many people use January as a time to ‘take stock,’ a time for ‘New Year resolutions,’ a time to look forward and to make a list of the things that they would like to do before they ‘meet their maker.’                                                                                                                    I suspect that this year may well have been slightly different but, we may still have thought about that list for when things start to get back to ‘normal.’

Simeon has a list but it has just one thing on it! We’re told that the Holy Spirit has revealed to him that he will see God’s Messiah before he dies - just one thing on his list, but a huge ‘one thing.’

We’re told that Simeon is looking forward to the ‘consolation of Israel.’ He is looking forward to the salvation of God’s people, Israel.

Every day Simeon looks for a child born the Messiah. Every day, as parents bring their children to the Temple for the rites of purification, Simeon looks to see if maybe this one is the Christ.

When Mary and Joseph appear in the Temple with Jesus, Simeon knows, this IS the one!

Simeon takes the child in his arms and that’s when the totally unexpected happens. Simeon gazes into the baby Jesus’ eyes and declares that this child is not only the salvation of Israel, but the salvation of the Gentiles as well!

We, as Christians, may not appreciate the magnitude of this statement because we’ve been brought up in the Christian tradition to believe ‘Jesus Christ came for the salvation of all people.’ BUT, in Simeon’s time, to say the Messiah, the Christ, has come for the salvation of Israel is one thing, but to say the Messiah, the Christ, has come for ALL people is unbelievable, it is something radically new!

We need to remember that Luke, our Gospel writer, is a Gentile writing to Gentiles. So, to hear early on in Luke’s Gospel that the salvation Jesus brings is for ALL people is really quite amazing. It really is GOOD NEWS!

Interestingly, Luke repeatedly emphasizes Jesus’ Jewishness. This is because we need to understand that Jesus is not just a son of a god, but He is THE Son of THE God of Israel, the one and only true God.

We are also told that Simeon is waiting for ‘the consolation of Israel.’ So, what is ‘consolation?’ A dictionary definition is ‘comfort that is received by a person after a loss or disappointment.’

Why did Israel need consolation?

If we look at Israel’s history - more than 4000 years – repeatedly the people of Israel, God’s people, deviate from worshipping God and instead turn to idol worship. Many have lost their identity as people of God – their identity and spiritual health is in decline; the Roman oppression is terrible … the roads are lined with crucified individuals meant to instill political terror and mental horror in people. This is why they need consolation; why they need comfort.

So, this baby is God’s salvation. This baby is the light of revelation. This baby is the glory of Israel. He will provide consolation, comfort and peace to a people and to a world oppressed by sin.

There are numerous references in the New Testament to God giving us peace – but nowhere does it say that God will change the situation; we are only told to ‘rejoice and present it to God’ and though our situation may stay the same, we experience God’s comfort and peace.

This is the mystery of God’s consolation: that we are able to experience comfort, not because we are comfortable, but we experience comfort despite the discomfort the world puts us through and nothing in this world can take that away from us.

God is good. Therefore, God does NOT cause bad things to happen, but God can use the bad things that happen for good and when we are forced to deal with pain and suffering in this world, he uses that to bring us closer to him because HE is our source of comfort. The answer to all struggles that we have, is Christ: no matter what situation we encounter in our lives – and now, is a major one the world over - or how much pain we experience, we can choose to bear it with darkness in our hearts or with comfort and peace. It will not always be comfortable for us but we can always be comforted in our hearts because we know that, no matter how long it takes before Christ comes again, that he most definitely will come and he will save us all.

This baby Simeon holds came into the world over 2000 years ago. Yet, he still provides comfort, life-changing mercy, and grace to people today.

The consolation and comfort that God gives is peace. We are urged to present all our inner struggles to God and God will give us peace that protects us.                                                                                                             Simeon and Anna both waited until their old age before they saw the redemption and consolation of Israel, which in Simeon’s case, God somehow revealed that he would see before he died.

There’s a reason each and every one of us believes in and follows God; God’s promise that he gives to us all is that Christ will come again and that knowledge is enough to give us comfort in our hearts even if we are not comfortable in this world.

It is because of ‘discomfort’ that we seek comfort in Christ; no matter is too small, no obstacle too great to bring before Christ. If we bring all our petitions and prayers to God, he will bring us comfort even amidst our suffering, even as we wait God’s fulfillment of his promise to us.


O Jesus, thou hast promised

To all who follow thee –

That where thou art in glory

There shall thy servant be;

And Jesus, I have promised

To serve thee to the end;

O give me grace to follow,

My master and my friend.      (hymn - O Jesus I have promised)





Affirmation of our faith


Let us declare our faith in God.          


 We believe and trust in God the Father                                                                from whom every family                                                                                                           in heaven and on earth is named.


We believe and trust in God the Son

who lives in our hearts through faith,

and fills us with His love.


We believe in God the Holy Spirit,

who strengthens us

with power from on high.


 We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.



Our Intercessions this week are by Daphne Hawkins


In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.


Dear Lord, the sun shines and the sky is blue, but it is hard to struggle each day with the overwhelming problems each and every one of us is facing every day.

Lord, strengthen our faith and hear our prayers as we come to you this morning, not in our beloved St Clement Church but in the quiet security of our homes.


We thank you that Reverend Di and Liz through their hard work and dedication have strengthened the bond of care and friendship in our church and the community around us.

Lord, we pray for the church world-wide facing so many difficulties at this time.

We pray for Archbishop Justin and our Bishops Philip and Hugh.

We pray for the diocese and Reverend Diane who toils endlessly during this pandemic for the churches and the wider scattered community where there is such great need at this time.


We pray for all world leaders and governments facing so much unrest and conflict at this time on top of the pandemic. May they face the future with compassion and strength, truth and wisdom in the knowledge that you will guide them through the dark, difficult days ahead.

We pray for our Queen and the royal family as they encourage us to be strong and to look to the future, sharing the same problems and solutions together as they have always done.


We especially pray for all those who are out in the community bearing the burdens of the pandemic; the doctors, nurses and health care workers who are physically and mentally exhausted after so many months working with patients so ill. Please give them the strength they need and some peace of mind for the work they are doing.

Dear Lord, we also remember the rest of the workers who are providing food services and all our daily needs; they too risking their lives for us all. Please care for them also and keep them safe.


We pray that as a nation we all try to behave responsibly and work with those in authority to bring this pandemic under control.


We bring to you all who suffer in body, mind or spirit – we especially remember Sue, Kate and Hilary. We pray for Martin and Liz during the difficult period of Martin’s treatment. We pray the cutting - edge treatment will restore him to good health. Please give Liz the strength to support and care for Martin. They are in the thoughts and prayers of us all.

We ask you to be with all those out there, unknown to us, who need a prayer at this time, and those with no one to love or care for them.

We pray for all who are sick, grieving, frightened or troubled and those at the end of life’s journey, so many alone.

Lord, it has not been possible as a united church for us to have been there for those in need. We have not been able to offer care, love and support as we would like to. Our hearts are heavy knowing so many of our congregation have suffered bereavement, sickness troubles, pain and suffering and we have not been there at their time of need. May they know that our thoughts and prayers have been, and will be with them every day.

Lord, please lay your hands that comfort and heal on each and every one in need, giving them light and hope in the days to come.

Lord, please walk with us in these dark days on this unprecedented journey and always be on our side.

May our faith in God’s goodness and love for us give us strength and hope and light in the days to come.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Andrew, St Clement and the blessed Virgin Mary, we commend ourselves and all Christians to your unfailing love.


Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of You Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen


Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with confidence as Jesus taught us;

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.   And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.



The Peace


God is love and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.

May the peace of God be with us always.   Amen

For your goodness and generosity in giving us all we need,

help us to praise you O God.

In every circumstance of life, in good times and bad,

help us to trust you, O God.

In love and faithfulness, with all that we have and all that we are,

help us to serve you, O God.

As we speak or write or listen to those nearby or far away,

help us to share your love, O God.

In our plans and work for ourselves and for others,

help us to glorify you, O God.

In every thought and word and deed, by the power of Your Holy Spirit,

this week, may we live for you, O God.




Now may the Lord of peace himself give us peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with us all.



















Page last updated: 28th January 2021 3:23 PM