February 2, 2012

The Presentation of the Lord

Filed under: Cycle of Prayer,Lectionary,Legacy,Time and Talent — by Lisa Meeder Turnbull @ 6:51 pm

Simeon had only one thing on his Bucket List—and it was a big one.

As a devout Jew, Simeon waited and prayed for the day when the Messiah would deliver his people. This wasn’t an easy hope. Simeon didn’t have the option of cashing out a life insurance policy, hopping on a plane, and spending the summer solstice above the Arctic Circle just to say he did it. No, the only thing Simeon could do was to remain faithful, making sincere and devout offerings of prayer that this “light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory of … Israel” would come.

I have to wonder if this baby, this 40-day-old infant, was really what he had in mind, but there it was—there he was—and Simeon could do no other than to make a heartfelt offering of praise and thanksgiving.

For me, a 21st Century Christian and steward of the Gospel, the Song of Simeon raises a profound question: What is the one thing, the one big thing, which would inspire me to burst forth with songs of praise? What is my devout hope for God’s people in my time?

When one chooses Christian stewardship as a way of being in the world, there is a lot riding on these questions:

What does my deepest hope for God’s people ask of me? Can I assist in bringing it about through offerings of time and material gifts? Or am I limited to offerings of prayer and supplication? Can I discipline myself to resist frustration and trust in prayer alone?

Do I have the strength to get out of the way and offer only my presence? Is my one hope for God’s people something I could miss if I weren’t paying attention? Would I know it if I saw it?

And then the even bigger questions: What would I do if it happened?

Simeon’s humility is breath-taking. His song of praise asks for nothing more; he has lived to see the day. He has received God’s greatest gift, the gift of knowing peace. This is not the over-hyped final episode of a pointless reality show. This is the most intimate moment of steadfast faith between a man and his god.

These are the questions that I ponder on this Feast of the Presentation. I would love to hear from others: What is your deepest hope for God’s people in our time? How are you called to make offerings of prayer, presence, gifts, and time that your eyes may see what God will bring about, in the presence of all peoples? How are you moved to unbridled joy and unbounded praise, this day?


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