By Gisele McKnight
Inclement weather saw a smaller than usual crowd attend the service of installation and collation Feb. 4 at Christ Church Cathedral. The Rev. Chris VanBuskirk and the Rev. Rod Black were made canons of the Cathedral, and the Rev. Canon Keith Osborne and Rod Black were made archdeacons.
The Rev. Canon Tom Smith was the officiant, assisted by Bishop David Edwards. The Rev. Canon Patricia Drummond and Elspeth Drinkell read the lessons.
Keith is now archdeacon of Saint John, replacing Stuart Allan, and Rod is archdeacon of Woodstock replacing Patricia Drummond. Both Stuart and Pat have retired.
The Choral Evensong celebrated The Presentation of Christ (transferred) and that was the subject of Stuart’s sermon during the service, based on Luke 2:22-40.
“This feast day has its origins in the 4th century,” said Stuart. “It marks the 40th day after the birth of the child under Mosaic law.
“But it’s more than simply obeying the law of Moses,” he said. “It’s an important feast day and about a very profound revelation of who this Jesus is.”
The feast day represents a change from the church cycle of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany — celebrating who Jesus is — to the coming of Lent, examining the mission of Jesus and how it would be accomplished.
Stuart noted that Luke’s gospel begins with Zechariah serving as a priest in the temple, questioning the angel Gabriel when told his elderly wife, Elizabeth, would give birth to a son. It ends with the ascension of Jesus, leaving early Christians staying “continually at the temple, praising God.”
“The temple was a place of sacrifice to re-establish peace and reconciliation between God and man,” said Stuart. “It’s a new Eden. In a sense it is the garden restored.”
Into this story comes a poor couple fulfilling the law of Moses to present their son to the temple after 40 days — so poor their sacrifice was a pair of turtledoves, he said.
“Mary cradles in her arms the Lamb of God — a full and sufficient sacrifice,” he said. “The work of Jesus has already begun.”
From there the story switches to Simeon, who had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. On that day he was compelled to be in the temple, and took the baby into his arms with great joy.
“He is granted the privilege of witnessing the arrival of the Messiah,” said Stuart, adding that the prophet Anna was also compelled to see the baby and speak of what was to come.
“Jesus, the infant presented in the temple is the same Jesus on the cross,” said Stuart. “He is present every time we come together as Christians.”
To those being installed and collated, he said, “It is a privilege to honour my brother priests. We can be sure each one will be faithful to the call.”
After the service, everyone enjoyed refreshments and fellowship at Cathedral Memorial Hall. Supporters travelled from the archdeaconries of Woodstock, Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton to attend.