Thoughts on 1st Sunday after Christmas

This last Sunday in church, the scripture lesson focused on Luke 2:22-40. This passage tells the story of Jesus’ presentation at the temple. What changes a common occurrence in 1st century Jewish life from ordinary to extraordinary is the presence of Simeon and Anna in the temple and their reaction to Jesus being in that place.

Simeon according to scriptures was a righteous and devout man who had been promised by God that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. Anna was a prophetess who was in her 80s and had been worshipping in the temple for decades since the death of her husband. Both looked upon Jesus and saw the fulfillment of God’s promises and testified to that in front of the temple.

The sermon for the day focused on one core lesson that can be learned from Simeon and Anna’s story.

We have waited. We have listened. Now is the time to act.

-Kris

Simeon and Anna both waited for God’s promise to be fulfilled in their lives. They both listened to the Holy Spirit speak and guide them. When presented with the living Christ, they acted. Simeon grabbed Jesus and began to praise the Lord. Anna told everyone she saw of the coming Messiah and the redemption of Jerusalem. They each spoke of the fulfilled promises of God.

It was a great lesson, and I began to think about what the prayers of Simeon and Anna were like during their time in the temple. I’m sure there were everyday prayers for forgiveness of sin, and for patience and healing. There would be prayers of thanksgiving  and prayers to God asking for guidance and to understand the purpose and direction of their lives. I’m sure there were prayers prayed in anger, regret and suffering too. They were human after all, and true prayer often means coming to God as we are even when (and especially when) we have lost our way or been distracted from God by the pains of our world.

What prayer would best summarize their experience though? After I heard the scripture reading, a Taize chant sprang to mine called “Wait for the Lord”.

REFRAIN

Wait for the Lord, whose day is near,

Wait for the Lord; be strong, take heart!

–Communauté de Taizé

It’s a song best sung or prayed during Advent, but it captures the lives of Anna and Simeon. They humbly waited on the Lord to fulfill his promises in their life. They remained strong and steadfast. Upon seeing the living God, they acted. They praised God with all their worth.

PRAYER

“Wait for the Lord” refrain

Lord,

We have learned about the lives of your servants Anna and Simeon. They lived their lives in a time of preparation and waiting for the coming Messiah. They lived their lives waiting for the coming of your kingdom. Let us also live our lives in expectation of an encounter with the living Christ. Let us focus on understanding your will in our lives; and when we hear your call and meet your Son, let us act so that all those around us know of God’s will working in the world.

Amen.

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