As I begin this prayer, God is here.
Around me, in my sensations, in my thoughts and deep within me.
I pause for a moment, and become aware
of God's life-giving presence.
Daily Prayer - 2017-12-31
As I begin this prayer, God is here.
God is not foreign to my freedom.
Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good.
I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.
We all need to take time out from our daily chores.
We know that our bodies need a rest.
When we come into your presence, Lord,
our hearts and minds are refreshed, our spirits lifted.
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.
Jesus often asked questions of those who came to him.
Let me sense him close to me now,
Listening to my prayer and asking
‘How can I help you?’
‘What can I give you?’
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.
If you appreciated the daily prayer or have any suggestions or insights we will be glad to hear from you.
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