Luke 2:25-35

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.”  Luke 2:25-35

Many  years ago, when I was serving in my first congregation, a friend of mine from out of town came to worship. I thought it was a great Sunday and I was proud to be a part of it. I truly loved that congregation and the people who proved so faithful along the way.

After worship, we had lunch. I was probably hoping for a few atta-boys, “that was great” kind of stuff. But the first words out of his mouth were, “I don’t think I have ever been in a room with that many old people in my life!” OUCH.

The truth is that we had a wide range of ages in worship that day but who was I to question his life experience? He probably didn’t do anything in his life that included as many seniors as we had (and still have) in a normal worship service. And I think that is a big problem.

I look at our long-time, faithful, congregational members and I see people who have vast experience in making their way through life. They have probably seen it all along the way and they have much wisdom to share. They are the ones who have sustained Christian communities. They are the ones who have been challenged to change along the way. But the worst mistake my friend made that day was his blindness to the greatest gifts our senior members bring – love, compassion, and joy that even his presence brought them. Had he seen them “seeing him”, he might have come away with a different point of view.

The text doesn’t tell us how old Simeon was. We don’t need to know but I picture him as one of our elderly saints at church. The people who need two hours to get ready to go. Who proudly don their Sunday best, wearing ties for the only time that week, because they believe that God deserves the best they can bring. Who struggle getting their walkers in and out of the car. Who are still grieving the friends they lost in the last year and who privately look around and wonder who is next. But they are there! And, no matter what you think, they love everything to do with children in church.

Jesus would prove a blessing to everyone in the world, but that would always happen one person at a time. Jesus was a blessing to Simeon. Jesus embodied Simeon’s hopes and dreams, not just for himself but for all people. And Simeon was wise enough to realize that the ministry of Jesus would be no walk in the park. Faithfulness is hard. Sacrifice requires sacrifice. There is nothing easier to do in life than to quit and walk away and Simeon sensed there was no quit in Jesus.

Simeon’s song has long been part of our traditional liturgy. Whenever we include those words in worship – 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.” – I realize how real those words are to the folks who have spent their lives following Jesus to the end.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, thank you for putting a song in Simeon’s heart, a song of faith, gratitude, and hope. Thank you for the faithfulness of those who continue to follow you, to make Christian community open and available to the next generation. May our eyes continue to see your salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

One Response to “Luke 2:25-35”

  1. garlee931 Says:

    At the ripe age of 68 I am fortunate to not need any walker but I hope that all of us, if able, would take the time to recognize all of our fellow parishioners and make them feel welcome.

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