Tuesday 29 December 2020
Today is Tuesday the 29 December, in the season of Christmas.
Tenebrae, directed by Nigel Short, sing the Nunc Dimittis from Rachmaninov’s Vespers, the song of Simeon: “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”. As I listen, can I become aware that I am in God’s presence now, that I too am God’s servant, and that I too am part of this story of salvation?
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’ Now 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. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 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.’
Today we hear how the parents of Jesus presented their new child to the Lord in the temple, as was customary according to Jewish law. They brought with them a pair of doves or young pigeons: the offering of the poor. What strikes you in your imagining of what follows?
What was it like for Simeon to hold the child Jesus in his arms? How did Joseph and Mary feel about this surprising encounter?
As you listen to the passage again, notice what words or images resonate with you. Allow yourself to be present in the scene; what moves you or grabs your attention?
From where you are now in your life, how do you want to respond to God’s word? Like Simeon, is there something you want to praise God for? Or something that amazes you, like Mary and Joseph? Let God know what is going on for you.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.