Rev Dr Rob Marshall, Priest at St John the Evangelist, Welwyn Garden City

And in the Big News today from a Faith Perspective, Happy Candlemas everyone! Yes, it’s that joyous time of year again, when we celebrate Jesus and candles and the Invisible Magic Friend appearing as a burning bush.

It’s a good job there’s nothing else in the news today. I wouldn’t want the really big feast of Candlemas to be pushed out of the headlines.

4 thoughts on “Rev Dr Rob Marshall, Priest at St John the Evangelist, Welwyn Garden City

  1. Candlemas is actually on 2 Feb, but even the CofE seem to have realised that trying to get people to bring candles to church on a wet Tuesday in February is a mug’s game. So they go through the ritual on the nearest convenient Sunday.

    The tale of Jesus meeting Simeon in the Temple appears only in ‘Luke’. It’s worth noting that the main point of visiting the Temple on the 40th day after a birth was to confirm the ritual purification of the mother. In other words, to cleanse the mother from the stigma of having been so gross as to give birth to another human being. Leaving aside the question of whether the Immaculate Mary actually needed to be purified, the episode reminds us how primitive and superstitious the origins of Christianity really are.

    Let’s hope Rob’s local supermarket doesn’t sell any of those special Gwyneth Paltrow candles. That really would cause a stink in church.


  2. Yes, an entirely introspective offering, with only an inferred helping of “What the world needs now….” No current big news story.

    I can see how obviously notions of ‘darkness and light’ lend themselves to metaphor; but I think this is very tired – and possibly offensive – rhetoric today. We know so much more about the qualities of light, and particularly of darkness (I can recommend the recent BBC 4 programmes by Jim Alkalili) to know that the two are equally important; not to mention outdated figures of speech like ‘the dark horse’ or ‘dark arts’ which sit uncomfortably with our society which is more acutely aware than ever before of the nuances of colour in relation to race and ethnology, and the importance of understanding and celebrating these differences – and underlying similarities.

    In a simple instance, I can’t sleep other than in a darkened room – I’m not afraid, nor do I feel threatened, or that somehow that darkness is bad or should be avoided. The night world is beautiful and also the habitat of nocturnal creatures – bats, of course, as creatures of the night, have long had a bad press, and this has contributed to stupid superstitions and people still fearing them. But life continues throughout our artificially imposed 24 hours of ‘night’ and ‘day.’

    It was easy, in (figuratively) unenlightened times to manipulate concepts of light and darkness into a battle between good and bad. Not so much today when our knowledge of light and dark has made each infinitely more fascinating. Who would want to live in a world of perpetual light? Yet this is what Marshall’s BBOMS promises for those who believe in his IMF, a heaven of constant, brilliant, unrelenting light. Marshall might like to contemplate that in ‘this world’ absence of darkness has been used as a form of torture….


    1. Jim Al-Khalili – Wishing to correct my misspelling of Jim’s name I (a) put it in the wrong place (above), and (b) got it wrong again. Apologies.


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