It is Groundhog’s Day and since it is sunny here in Iowa, supposedly the groundhog has seen his shadow and we will have six more weeks of winter. But February 2 was selected as Groundhog’s day by German immigrants because it is Candlemas Day. February 2 is forty days after December 25 and according to some Christian traditions this is the day when the infant Jesus was presented in the temple in Jerusalem. In some traditions it is okay to leave your Christmas decorations up until Candlemas. So if you haven’t yet taken down your tree, you really should today.
It is called Candlemas because it is approximately half way between the winter solstice (December 21st) and the spring equinox (March 21st) and this is the time of the year when you paid close attention to your winter supplies, like candles, hoping they will last. In the Middle Ages, peasants in Europe would bring their candles to church on February 2 to be blessed by the priest, and to pray that all would be well and there would be enough until the warmer weather arrived. Of course, there were all sorts of ancient pagan rituals and celebrations blended into Candlemas, depending on local folklore and traditions.
Of course, in 21st century America our mid-winter celebration involves a different kind of folk tradition with layers of myths and legends, namely the Superbowl. We will be giving a nod to this annual ritual this Sunday with our Superbowl Brunch served up by our youth between services. The menu will include breakfast casseroles, pastries and other goodies, so come hungry and make a generous donation to support our youth mission trips.
During worship we will be celebrating Communion, and at the first service we will be ordaining and installing our elders and deacons. The Chancel Choir will be singing at the first service. We will begin a new sermon series based on your favorite Gospel stories that we are calling “I Love to Tell the Story.” This week I will be preaching on the Sermon on the Mount, specifically Matthew 5:21-48. My title is “You Have Heard it Said…”
Finally, the February First Press is out. Paper copies are available around the church building or you can download a copy by clicking on the link below.
Stay in One Peace,