Mixed blessing: Day eleven
Please enjoy today's reflection from our September-December issue of New Daylight.
Guided 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, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’ And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then 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 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
Luke 2:27 - 35 (NRSV)
This beautiful cameo portrait of Simeon is one of the jewels of this narrative of Jesus’ early years. We see him as a man wholly committed to God, all his senses tuned to that divine wavelength. First, he hears from God the promise that he will not die until he has seen the Messiah. Second, he sees: he recognises that this particular child is the uniquely special one. Third, he acts: he engages with the family, taking the child in his arms. Fourth, he speaks, boldly declaring the words God has given him, amazing and difficult though they must have been to receive. This is surely a compelling example of what it means to be a true servant of the Lord.
For Simeon, it means that he can now depart this life with a sense of satisfaction, knowing that there are no loose ends, that all that God has planned for him is completed. At one time, the whole purpose of education was thought to be so that we could ‘make a good death’; perhaps the fact that Anglicans continue to use Simeon’s prayer, the Nunc Dimittis, reflects
this unspoken desire.
Gracious God, may we be tuned in to all that you plan for us
and respond with faithfulness and courage, humility and love.
Written by SHEILA WALKER
Find our New Daylight Bible reading notes