Dear friends in Christ,
Today the church celebrates one of the great feasts, the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple. We recall the time, told in the second chapter of Luke, that Mary and Joseph took young Jesus to the Temple to present him to God. This was to fulfill the law set forth in Exodus 13 commanding the firstborn to be offered to God.
When Mary and Joseph got to the Temple, they encountered Simeon, a man who had been waiting to behold his Savior. Seeing the Savior would be the culmination of his life. When he held Jesus, Simeon offered the beautiful praise we now know as the Nunc dimittis (from the Latin of the opening words).
Lord, you now have set your servant free *
to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A Light to enlighten the nations, *
and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Nearly every time I pray evening prayer, I repeat this canticle. I think of that man, essentially waiting to meet Jesus, a moment that will mark his readiness to leave his earthly pilgrimage and move on to his heavenly home. What was it like, waiting day in and day out to see his Savior? I ponder how his heart must have nearly burst with joy, holding the young child who was destined to change the world. I wonder if Simeon expected to greet his Savior as a child, or if he had been waiting for a powerful grownup? What a moment this must have been!
Simeon’s lovely song of praise reminds us that Jesus, the Light of the world, shines on every nation, on every person. Jesus’ saving love is for everyone.
I wonder if we are open to meeting our Savior in ways we might not expect? And I wonder if we are prepared to share the light of Christ’s grace, mercy, righteousness, peace, and love with the whole world?