Tuesday 02 February 2010

Bible Book:

"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." (v.29-32)

Luke 2:22-32 Tuesday 2 February 2010


With these words Simeon gave thanks, as he held the baby Jesusin the Temple. God had promised Simeon that he would see theMessiah, or the 'anointed one', before he died. He recognised Jesusand declared himself ready to 'depart in peace'. The dominantemotions here are relief and thanksgiving.

This passage immediately followed the story of Jesus' birth, withthe visits by shepherds and singing of angels. In it, the Gospelwriter Luke wanted his readers to see two things. Firstly, Jesus'family was doing the correct things to keep them at the heart ofthe Temple community and their own Jewish culture. Secondly, theauthor wanted to make the point that Jesus was to redeem allpeople, not just the Jews.

In many Church traditions, today is celebrated as the feast ofChrist's presentation in the Temple, or 'Candlemas'. Traditionallyat Candlemas, churches would have a special service to bless allthe candles for the coming year, as the darkest day had passed. Itwas appropriate to have the reading of Simeon's words - a light forrevelation - to all people on that day.

To Ponder

What do you long for? What would make your lifecomplete and enable you to say to God, "Now you are dismissing yourservant in peace"?

This passage is said every day as part of eveningprayer in many traditions. What do Simeon's words "you aredismissing your servant in peace" mean to you, if you say them atthe end of each day?

Why do people still light candles in a religioussetting?

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