Okay it isn’t actually until tomorrow, but when you have two congregations things don’t always happen on the exact day. Tomorrow night Candlemas will be celebrated at All Saints at 7.30pm, but last night was the turn of St Andrew’s and what a good night it turned out to be.
We started back in 1559 with Elizabeth the 1st recently crowned and expected to make a progress around the city for the feast of Candlemas. Our first carol was a new one to me but a little gem, all I can find out is it was written by someone called Boyle, (I did try and find out more about it but a web search just brings up pages about ‘Susan Boyle!’) maybe it is new to you too:
Down with the rosemary and bays,
down with the mistletoe;
instead of holly, now upraise
the greener box, for show.
The holly hitherto did sway:
let box now domineer
until the dancing Easter Day
or Easter Eve appear.
Then youthful box, which now hath grace
your houses to renew,
grown old, surrender must his place
unto the crisp-ed yew.
When yew is out, then birch comes in,
and many flower beside,
both of a fresh and fragrant kin,
to honour Whitsuntide.
Green rushes then and sweetest vents,
with cooler oaken boughs,
come in for comely ornaments,
to re-adorn the house.
Thus times do shift, thus times do shift;
each thing his turn does hold;
new things succeed, new things succeed
as former things grow old.
The focal point of the evening was a meditation based on Rembrandt’s Simeon at the Temple.