February 2 is Candlemas which is the day the church remembers the presentation of Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem. At that time, Mary made offering for her purification (Leviticus 12:6-8) and Joseph paid the redemption price for the firstborn (Exodus 13:11-16).

It’s worth noting that Joseph and Mary made use of the provision for those who could not offer the stated sacrifice because of their poverty. In addition, this moment is the fulfillment of the promise of the Lord through Malachi, “The Lord, whom we seek, shall suddenly come to his temple.”

Malcolm Guite notes in his own sonnet and comments on Candlemas that the Lord first comes to his Temple as a pilgrim. This beautiful irony sparked my imagination in other ways. For example the One who ‘before Abraham was’ comes as a newborn, and this baby who is older comes to the eldest in the Temple (Simeon and Anna) who, seeing the sudden coming of the One for whom they have longed their entire life to see, are joyfully made young in the fulfillment of their desire and hope.

You may listen to me read the sonnet by clicking the player below.

based Luke 2:22-38; Malachi 3:1-3

Born in arms to his house as a pilgrim
The Anointed who’ll bear our salvation,
This first-born redeemed and two young pigeons
For the desire and wealth of the nations.
Suddenly he comes to those who long-waited
The refiner’s fire, the promised fuller’s soap;
Simeon and Anna are made young again
To see Israel’s consolation and hope.

O Lord, in the light of Candlemas I see
In the heart of this weary, winter’s way
You giving your wealth, becoming poor for me
That I might be young and long for the Day
When the sudden shaking of your revealing
Dashes the proud, but the poor and pierced healing.

© Randy Edwards 2017.
This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.

artwork: The Presentation in the Temple, c. 1790-1795 by John Opie, 1761-1804; oil on canvas, National Gallery of Canada

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