My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
When I turn my thoughts to You,
I find peace and contentment.
Daily Prayer - 2017-12-31
My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
It is so easy to get caught up
with the trappings of wealth in this life.
Grant, O Lord, that I may be free
from greed and selfishness.
Remind me that the best things in life are free.
Love, laughter, caring and sharing.
Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence.
Teach me to recognise your presence in others.
Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
‘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.’
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- The newborn child represents the continuity of God’s plan of salvation. God’s providence – his Holy Spirit directing history – has always been at work. This same Spirit rested on Simeon, and today guides Simeon into the Temple.
- The Temple is itself God’s dwelling-place among his people, and Simeon and Anna belong to the faithful remnant of menfolk and womenfolk, God’s own privileged poor. Anna has been ‘praying and fasting’ – that regime whose power over evil Jesus himself will one day endorse. God’s people have long been praying in expectation of the Messiah – described in this text as the consolation of Israel and its glory; the redemption of Jerusalem; the light to the Gentiles.
- In the past, the prophets were the carriers of the message of God’s glory. Chosen ones from the beginning of their lives, God’s special favour continued with them. And now the same will happen with Mary’s child: God’s favour resting on him as he grows in strength and wisdom. Jesus is to be the new dwelling place of God among his people: in himself, a whole new epoch both for Israel and for the pagan nations. He will even function as a sword of judgment, described as destroying some and sparing others - with not even his mother exempt from the pain of that crisis.
Dear Lord, stay by my side always.
Gain for me a trusting heart.
Thank you for loving me.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
If you appreciated the daily prayer or have any suggestions or insights we will be glad to hear from you.
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