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St Matthews Church Oxhey Hertfordshire

Fr David's Sermon

3rd February 2008

Fr David Shepherd


I came across a photograph of a funerary monument the other day (cemetery photography seems to be something of a sub-genre – very atmospheric!) It was a sculpture of an angel holding on to a cross. Not that uncommon a subject but badly executed. The cross was solid and architectural. There was nothing ethereal about the angel. It was like a strong- man with wings, using its strength to apply downward pressure to the cross. The photograph had the tag ‘Let go’. Whereas such images often suggest the soul of the departed being released to eternity this sculpture suggested a person trapped in the dark by a great weight of marble. Maybe the bereaved were simply unable to let go of their loved one.

The Presentation Gospel (Candlemas) suggests the letting go that is a grace of the Christian life, the letting go that is necessary if we are to receive the life of Christ. The infant Jesus is at the centre of the scene. The other characters are Mary & Joseph, Simeon & Anna.

Candlemas is about letting go. It marks a turning point in the Church’s year. We leave the joys of Christmas behind us and turn to the sufferings of Jesus, to his Cross as we enter Lent. Sometimes in life change is gradual with plenty of time for adjustment. Sometimes it comes quickly. This year because Easter is so early, the liturgical gear change is very quick with only three days separating Candlemas from Ash Wednesday. It is symbolic of the letting go that is Christian discipleship. Our task in Lent is to ask the Lord what he is calling us to let go of so that we can see & receive salvation in his son.


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Comments about this site or problems? Contact Webmaster (Colin Richards) at Last updated 02/02/2008 17:30 Author: David Shepherd