In our Gospel for Candlemas we meet a cast of characters we can recognise and relate to.
Mary the new mother
Joseph the father and husband
Simeon the strange but wise old man
Anna the effervescent and welcoming old woman
All brought into our focus by a 40 day old baby who is also our God and King. Each of these characters is given hope and new life in their encounter with the Christ-child. Simeon defies all he knows about the great and mighty messiah and recognises him in the babe in arms Anna bounces with joy and shares the hope of the new belonging for all encompassed by this babe, held in his mother's arms.
There is a glorious interlinking between these people in the snapshot of the temple. The give and receive from each other regardless of prescribed societal and religious norms. And herein lies a joy and a lesson for us as 'church'. We need each other. We are less than the Church without each other. Young and Old, Male and Female, gay and straight, able and less able bodied, healthy and sick, happy and miserable black, white and all the colours in between. Only together are we Church, are we the Body of Christ.