Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Seeing God's Salvation

'Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And 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 2:25-35

'The whole life of Christ was a continual Passion; others die martyrs, but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha, where he was crucufied, even in Bethlehem, where he was born; for to his tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after, and the manger as uneasy at first as the cross at last. His birth and death were but one continual act, and his Christmas day and his Good Friday are but the evening and the morning of the same day. And as even his birth is his death, so every action and passage that manifests Christ to us is his birth, for Epiphany is manisfestation. Every manifestation of Christ to the world, to the church, to a particular soul is an Epiphany, a Christmas day.'
- John Donne, The Showing Forth of Christ, quoted in Watch for the Light, p. 303-304

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Friends and Family,

I love the story of Simeon from Luke 2. Can you imagine this elderly, faithful Jewish gentleman day after day serving and performing his temple duties? He was righteous and devout; a man set upon by the Spirit of God and having been visited by the Spirit who assure him that he would see God's salvation before he died. When Joseph and Mary had brought Jesus to the temple for the rites expected by Levitical law Simeon saw Him. When he set his eyes upon Jesus an old man saw God's salvation. Simeon recognized that this would be God's salvation for all peoples; Gentile and Jew alike. In the new babe Simeon saw what many do not see. He saw hope for all peoples, but also that this salvation would be opposed. Salvation would come at a price. Simeon saw that God's salvation was to be manifest, not by youthful zeal and the hope of a young child, but this salvation would be made manifest by opposition and suffering. Simeon saw God's salvation in a child that would bring salvation through the piercing pain of suffering. Simeon may not have seen God's redemptive plan from beginning to end, but he made the connection between God's salvation and the opposition that was coming to this child. God's redemptive plan included both a manger and a cross. This child was born a martyr.

Rejoicing with Simeon in seeing God's salvation.

Pastor Dan

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