Sunday 31st January 2021.
An old man Simeon, who had received God’s promise that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Annointed One, led by the Spirit came to the temple in Jerusalem. At the same time Joseph and Mary came to present the baby Jesus in the Temple, according to the Law laid down by Moses in Leviticus ;the time of forty days after the birth of a boy and also time for the purification of the woman after child birth.
Waiting in line with all of the other people Joseph and Mary are picked out by Simeon, who picks up the child and thanks God that at last he had seen the Lords Messiah. How long had Simeon waited for this day for the promise of God to be fulfilled. We have his words of thanksgiving Luke 2 ver. 29-32 used in Evensong as the Nunc Dimittis .”Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace: according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation; Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people. To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel”
Simeon’s message did not end there and he went on to bless and inform the couple that many would oppose this child and said to Mary that sorrows like a sharp sword would break her own heart. That is not the type of message you would want to have for a new born baby of forty days old. Life does not always work out the way we think and planned it to go. Some nine months previously Mary had been visited by an angel and informed that she would give birth to a son who would be a king and of whose kingdom there would be no end. Now she is being told by Simeon that a sword would pierce and break her own heart. Did Mary standing before the cross so many years latter call to mind the words of Simeon as she wept seeing the child that she bore and that God had promised dying in front of her.
There are times when we look with bewilderment and anguish at the way God seems to work, as in Isaiah 55 ver. 8. 2” For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways says the Lord” We can say that it so true and it is hard to keep on trusting and believing when disappointment and suffering hit hard. Where is God? Does he not care? Often there is no answer only the silence of eternity.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” John 1 ver. 5. For the darkness, no matter how deep it may be can never put out the smallest candle flame.