on images of Candlemas
Among those of us who ponder these things in our hearts and souls (and seek to live in response) - modern day Annas, Simeons and Marys - I wonder what images of Candlemas/Presentation of Christ touch you. It has been refreshing this year for me to reflect upon a few of the new perspectives which have emerged in Reformed church spaces - not evading (as sometimes in the past), or replacing, but enriching the ancient streams.
The image above is one which expresses African American prayer and action for justice (by the artist Cynthia H. Catlin, from Quilt – “The Beginning of Social Justice.” National Underground Railroad Freedom Center).
Below is a powerful South African picture, by Sam Nhlengethwa, offered by Victoria Jones (see her blogpost here) - to bring fresh light and depth to Candlemas today, coupling it with reflection on Anglican Evangelical scholar Richard Bauckham’s poem (full version in the link) In the Drab Waiting Room:
‘Truly to wait is pure dependence.
But waiting too long the heart
grows sclerotic. Will it still
be fit to leap when the time comes?
Prayer is waiting with desire.
Two aged lives incarnate
century on century
of waiting for God, their waiting-room
his temple, waiting on his presence,
marking time by practicing
the cycle of the sacrifices,
ferial and festival,
circling onward, spiralling
towards a centre out ahead,
seasons of revolving hope.
Holding out for God who cannot
be given up for dead, holding
him to his promises—not now,
not just yet, but soon, surely,
eyes will see what hearts await.’
Jo Inkpin is an Anglican priest serving as Minister of Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney, a trans woman, theologian & justice activist. These are some of my reflections on life, spirit, and the search for peace, justice & sustainable creation.