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Sermon for Candlemas

by Reverend Rachel Shock |


Candlemas 2nd February 2014
Preached by the Revd Rachel Shock St Mary’s Church, Nottingham

Last Sunday I went to a church in Thaxted in Essex to the installation service of a good friend, as priest in charge. The service was special as I had never really expected my friend to take on a role such as this but what made it memorable was not the liturgy, the sermon from the Bishop or my reading .... but the cold. To be quite honest we might just as well have been sat outside for how cold it was. At the end of the service, some people showed me their hot water bottles which they had discreetly hidden under their coats – how wise. However, what was fascinating was that you could see everyone’s breath all the time. You know when you stand out on a really cold, crisp morning and you can see your breath for a few minutes. But with this service we could all see everyone’s breath for the whole two hours. I imagine this is what church used to be like. It was actually very atmospheric and it did set me pondering the many bible passages that speak of God’s breath; John 20:21-22, ‘So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.”

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