Anna and Simeon
“When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, [Luke ch2 v27-28]
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” [Luke ch2 v36-38]
The very first time Jesus was brought to the temple He was met by two of the oldest and faithful members of the Temple community. People who prayed every day, who loved the Lord and who walked humbly in His ways. Simeon was promised by God that he would see the Messiah before he passed from this earth and this prophecy was brought to light on that particular day.
There had been nothing special about that day, they were going about their business as usual when the Living God broke into their lives. They both recognised the baby for whom He was and both placed a Blessing on Him. God has a care for all people of all ages and when Jesus grew up and started His ministry He spoke to and dealt with people from all ages. From the children He used as an example of unconditional trust, to the healing and teaching of all ages, women and men.
Throughout the church there is always the same care and attention to all age-groups, from all areas of life, with no bias against anyone. The Church of Scotland have produced a document which helps us work out how we open the church and when and it will be according to the Government Guidelines as well as the Church of Scotland decision. The church has not banned the over 70’s to come to worship, they have made it clear that the church has to be ready with all the facilities needed for safe Worship. The decision to attend is up to the people in that group, and as this applies to me, I will be there for a start and I hope many others will have the confidence to attend.
Confidence means going in faith and trust, a word derived from the Latin “con” means “with” and fidence is from the root “fidelis” meaning faithful or loyal. With Jesus at the centre of our lives we go forward in confidence, trusting Him as surely as those who met Him trusted Him. Anna and Simeon approached the young family in the Temple knowing that they were prompted by God to do so and in the simple act of acknowledgement and blessing they saw the wonder of the Messiah. A beautiful baby with all the promise and hope and wonder that a baby can engender in any heart.
The people whom Jesus met approached Him with their troubles and cares, a hunger for healing, a need to be calmed and made whole, a desperate desire to know more about God and to hear His teaching. No one was turned away and Jesus was upset if anyone tried to prevent people trying to get to Him, for example, the hated tax collector Zacchaeus, the blind man at the gates of Jericho. He does not turn anyone away He never has and He never will.
Sometimes I think that being older or having gray hair somehow makes me feel invisible, dismissed as part of the furniture. Yet nothing can be further from the truth I know that with age there is experience, there is understanding, there is a sense of Hope. Maybe some people feel that they have done their bit and have nothing else to give. Yet that is so wrong, we can all pray with all our hearts for the church and its flourishing as the future unfolds before us.
This is not confined to the older generation everyone needs to pray for the church and its flourishing. I have concentrated on the older generation but this message Is for everyone of every age, Jesus is Lord of us all. He is the centre of all things and the one to whom we place our trust and our faith. He will lead us through this time, He will lead us through the days to come in the future, He will bring the church to realise all the potential it has for Worship and Mission which go hand in hand.
All those who met Jesus and were changed by Him were full of joy and praise may we at this still uncertain time walk with the Lord and be filled with joy and be full of praise.
LET US PRAY
LOVING AND ALMIGHTY GOD,
In these uncertain times and in these changing times where Hope beams in the shape of an easing of restrictions we give thanks for the diligent sacrifice of the nation in helping to reduce the effects of the Virus. We give thanks for those who have worked so hard to keep the nation provided for in so many different ways.
Just as the sunshine heralds the summer and that lifting of the heart to see the colours of nature, in the same way we sense that the time will come when we can come together to worship in our sanctuaries. The opportunity to Worship You in the beauty of Holiness is something that we hunger for in every way possible.
We pray this day for all the churches in our land as they start to make preparations for a return to Worship and some sort of normality. We pray for all those leaders of churches who have to make decisions and have to be realistic in the face of difficult times. We pray for all the worshipping communities who will come together, may they enter Your Doors with confidence.
We pray for all those who are in need of prayer, our families, friends and neighbours. Those distressed by the isolation and finding it difficult to come back into the community. We pray for the sick, those in hospital and at home, and give thanks for all staff in hospitals and the carers at home. We ask a blessing on all those who mourn, may You grant them Your Peace.
We ask in Jesus name. AMEN
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