Anna the Prophetess by Linda Pollock
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Anna the Prophetess
by Linda Pollock
I lived for the chaos! The music, the dancing, the parades, people from all over the world coming into the House of God… and I loved taking care of my husband’s special robes, making sure they were clean and him perfectly presented. I adored his voice, when he sang everybody knew God had blessed him and us with a sound rich, warm and so pure… I always felt that an Angel of the Lord was singing when my Ronel was the Cantor, it was as if we were in the place where God rests His head. Ronel would stand tall and look at the congregation, eyes shining, hands raised inviting us to join in, and 4 hours of prayer felt like 4 minutes!
Our home was always busy, we lived in the quarters provided by the Temple for Cohens and Levites – my Ronel was a singing Levite as were his ancestors. So, whenever our families came to Jerusalem for the festivals they would come and visit with us. Our joy was short-lived though because Ronel died, it was a huge shock, and we have no idea why or how he stopped breathing. The High Priest came to see me and let me know that Ronel was always his favourite Cantor. He told me that God needed Ronel for His heavenly choir. I couldn’t believe those words! Not for one minute, because if that was true, then God couldn’t possibly be God! How could the One Who gave Ronel life, gave Ronel such a beautiful, generous gift need this one little man?!! Surely, God had plenty of Angels, surely God wasn’t that selfish. Of course, I nodded my head in agreement – what else could I have done ? He was the High Priest, he had honoured us by stepping into our humble home. The High Priest assured me then that I would never have to leave my home, I could live on in the Temple accommodation because my Ronel’s voice had blessed thousands of people… and this is where I have lived for 84 years, in the same little room, 5 minutes walk from the outer Courts.
After the funeral, the chaos that I’d once relished became torturous, too many strange faces, and the clanging cymbals which once commanded my attention to focus on God, soon became my daily dread, so, I would make sure to be as far away from the sanctuary as possible. I felt myself becoming more and more angry at God, how could He have needed Ronel more than I did?
One day I’d had enough, I was a childless widow, without purpose wandering around the Temple, attending the daily prayers, cleaning the courts with my broom, helping wherever I could - but I was miserable, despairing, empty, going through the religious motions and longing for Ronel, longing for love, but unbeknownst to me, I was longing for God. I went home, lit my candles, and began to pray in earnest. I told God how I truly felt, my anger, my resentment, my misery, my empty heart. I became aware of Ronel singing, one of my favourite psalms of our beloved King David, the one about looking to the hills and realising that my help came from the One who made the heavens and the earth. Well, my room filled with light, Ronel’s singing was so beautiful, then my heart began to beat very quickly, and the only way to describe what happened next is that my heart opened, tears poured… I realised that God didn’t need my Ronel, He didn’t take my Ronel for His heavenly choir, it was simply Ronel’s time to go home to God. Our time together was complete, I was privileged.
I knew then that on that night of despair the High Priest had no idea Who our God was, so I vowed to begin discovering every day more and more the steadfast love of God, and that is what I have done for 84 years. Yes, 84 years I have listened to Priests and Teachers, 84 years I have prayed in the Temple, and in time, I realised that the chaos is just that, the noise is only sound… the liturgy, the parades, the dancing, all wonderful expressions of our understanding of God. But I knew that it was in my little room, in silence, that I discovered my longings could be met only by our God.
One day that discovery became a reality. I was walking through the outer Courts when I saw a young couple with their baby. My old friend, Simeon, was blessing them and I knew immediately that this child was the One long promised by God, I praised God and went out to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
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