As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be:
world without end.
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.
Luke 2: 34-35
Simeon had waited and waited for this promised moment of meeting the Son of God face to face, not knowing when or how, not knowing he would be able to hold him fast in his arms, not knowing he would be able to personally bless the parents of this holy child.
He certainly could not know this child would be the cause of so much joy and sorrow for all those who love Him deeply.
That sword of painful truth pierces into my soul as well, opening me with the precision of a surgeon under high beam lights in the operating room where nothing is left unilluminated. I am, by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, bared completely, my own darkness thrust into dawn, my heart revealed as never before. This is equal opportunity surgery.
It is terrifying: all my cracks and crevices thrust into the light. And it should be, given what I am, and what is true of every one of us.
Yet God is who we wait for, longing and hungry for peace. We are tired, too tired to continue to hide within the darkness and conflict of our sin. We, like Simeon, are desperate for the peace of His appearance among us, dwelling with us, when we can gather Him into our arms, when all becomes known and understood and forgiven.
His birth is the end of our death, the beginning of the outward radiance of His peace, and wide open to all who open themselves to Him in a new world without end. Amen
This year’s Lenten theme for Barnstorming is a daily selection from songs and hymns about Christ’s profound sacrifice on our behalf.
If we remain silent about Him, the stones themselves will shout out and start to sing (Luke 19:40).
In His name, may we sing…
Nunc dimittis servum tuum,
Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto:
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Translation (The Book of Common Prayer, 1662):
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.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.
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