(Simeon nimmt Christus in seine Arme, Quelle: www.heiligenlexikon.de)
"The Consolation of Israel," Jerry Goebel, One Family Outreach. "Focus on scripture from a justice perspective." Exegesis, study, and teen study and activities.
God of the covenant, looking graciously upon their fiath, you brought Abraham joy and Sarah laughter int he birth of the their child and in the beginning s of a family countless as the stars of heaven. With Simeon and Anna, with Mary and Joseph, our eyes have seen your salvation, and we hold it in our hands. Fill us with wisdom to trust your promises, and let your gracious favor rest on this family you have gathered.
From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year B, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.
Some Thoughts on Luke 2:22-40
This day brings our holiday season to an end. The most brave of all will come out on Sunday, January 1st, to celebrate the new year in church. Perhaps this will be a double low church whammy. It is both the Sunday after Christmas and it is also New Years Day.
In contrast to Mary in the Gospel written by Luke we have Simeon who is a faithful, righteous, and patient man. A pious man he had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Messiah before he died.
Mary and Joseph bring their son to the Temple for circumcision as per their custom.
It is in the midst of this familial tradition that we see another revelation of who Jesus is and is to be.
In this moment Jesus is the Messiah for Simeon. He proclaims him so. Going on to reveal that he is the the one he has been waiting for, but that he is also the savior of Israel and of all the peoples of the earth.
In the back of our minds we must be aware of how Luke tells the story. At once we know he is to be rejected in this first volume; while accepted in Acts. Likewise within the Gospel narrative we see that some people will accept and welcome him others will reject him. (Luke Timothy Johnson, Luke, 57)
Simeon and Anna are people who welcome the savior.
One week has past. A season is over and a new one is beginning. As we make our way through the Christmas lessons and then the Epiphany lessons I believe that we have an opportunity to refocus ourselves on living out the Gospel.
On this day perhaps it would be good for us to consider how we are welcoming God into our midst. How are we welcoming God into the midst of our lives? Are we making room for him? How are we welcoming others into our communities? Are we making room to see the face of Christ in others? Are we doing this in the church and on the streets? I love Goebel's quote above; a very good internalization of this morning's Gospel:
"Notice, Simeon wasn?t looking 'in the church' for the Savior; he was looking 'on the street.' Where am I looking for the face of my Savior today? Do I look with expectation upon the crowd outside the church; examining every face for the Christ within? Am I poised like Simeon caught up in doing acts of kindness and justice? If I am, the face of Salvation is still among the nameless crowd who shuffles past our churches in every city in the world. He is still there; am I poised to find him?"
On a day when we begin our New Year's resolution it is a good time for us to rethink our work as individuals who make room for Jesus Christ in our lives and in our communities. What would happen if we as clergy made a resolution for our selves. What would happen if we encouraged others to do so? What if our church's made resolutions? What would they be? To be more like Simeon, Anna, the faithful family? To wirte a rule of life? To launch an intentional ministry of welcoming? To redouble our study and engagement with the bible?
In such rules of life, and resolutions, perhaps we will in the end find some liberation - some freedom. In living a life that proclaims and lives out the promise of Jesus as Messiah perhaps in fact the whole world might experience what it means to come within the reach of his saving embrace. Just maybe if we were to keep our resolutions, just maybe, people around us might have the same expeience as Simeon.
A Little Bit for Everyone
Luke 2:22-4022When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.