Monday, February 3, 2014

The Story of Simeon and Anna

This week’s gospel story was from Luke.  The gospel reading was the telling of the prophet Simeon meeting Jesus for the first time at his presentation at the temple.  From this meeting arose the “Song of Simeon:”

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.

(From the Book of Common Prayer)
Aert de Gelder's early 18th-century painting Het loflied van Simeon (Simeon's song of praise).  From:

Simeon has been waiting his whole life to meet Jesus.  When he has that moment, he feels complete.  He is now able to die at peace.  I think we all yearn for that moment when we meet Jesus.  When we know our salvation, we are able to pass from this world in peace. 

The second person to meet Jesus at his presentation at the temple is a prophetess named Anna.  She is also able to declare the glory of the Lord after being in the presence of the child Jesus.  Evidently, Jesus’ holiness was quite visible to those who see.  I am always struck by Bible stories and the descriptions of the holy transformation of individuals.  They just look different. 

I love this story.  My brother and I are named after these two individuals.  My father named my older brother, “Simeon,” and I was named, “Anna.”  It has special meaning for me that we are named for people who saw and recognized Jesus and were able to proclaim his sovereignty. 

This story validates my personal calling as a member of the body of Christ.  Each of us, in our own way, proclaims Jesus’ sovereignty in our life.  We choose to live a life of God.  We choose when we sin.  We choose what we put in our mouths.  We choose when we get off the couch.  We choose when we look the other way.  We choose our responses to events and situations.  We choose whether to recognize the Christ spark around us all.  If we are to depart in peace in this life, then we must recognize Christ in us, around us, and in the light of others each day.  When we recognize Christ and our lives can proclaim his presence, then we too, will be able to depart in peace.