The Presentation of the Lord – Feast – Malachi 3:1-4 or Hebrews 2:14-18; Psalm 23(24):7-10; Luke 2:22-40

Those able to say the Morning Prayer from the Office each day will have no trouble recognising Simeon's words in todays Gospel. His song of praise and thanksgiving for being in the presence of the Lord is echoed every day by all clergy, all religious and many laity, in the Benedictus. It is a beautiful prayer, full of joy and awe just for being there.

His praise is taken up by Anna - a woman who devoted her life to prayer in the synagogue, and I am sure like many Annas we see in our church, also devoting her life to caring for others in some way. We get the sense that she came by upon this moment of Simeon's ecstasy, and picking up on it, just carried on with her day - perhaps cleaning the synagogue, arranging flowers, or taking food out to the poor, still prising God.

Both are the perfect example of how we should respond to being in God's presence. Perhaps take up a practice of reciting the Benedictus (privately) as we enter the church, and definitely by taking the joy of christ with us as we leave to continue with our daily work and activities. That joy in Christ is very 'catching' and some day, perhaps, someone might be curious and ask you why. You can then tell them - you had an encounter with Christ our saviour and risen Lord, in your church this morning, and are just so blessed! The Lord will do the rest for that person.

I chanced upon a painting by Rembrandt today - it seems it was possibly his last painting. It shows Simeon holding Jesus, with Anna passing by - the face of both reflecting their joy.Rembrandt: Simeon, Anna and Jesus

When his parents brought in the child Jesus, Simeon took him in his arms and gave thanks to God.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!
  He has visited his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up for us a mighty saviour
  in the house of David his servant,
as he promised by the lips of holy men,
  those who were his prophets from of old.
A saviour who would free us from our foes,
  from the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our fathers is fulfilled
  and his holy covenant remembered.
He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,
  that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice
  all the days of our life in his presence.
As for you, little child,
  you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
  to prepare his ways before him,
To make known to his people their salvation
  through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving-kindness of the heart of our God
  who visits us like the dawn from on high.
He will give light to those in darkness,
  those who dwell in the shadow of death,
  and guide us into the way of peace.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
  and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
  is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
When his parents brought in the child Jesus, Simeon took him in his arms and gave thanks to God.
Posted in Daily Reflection.