In the end
Luke 2: 25-38
25 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. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 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, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.’
33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 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 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
36 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, 37 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. 38 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 exploring the theme ‘Holy Endings’ Simeon and Anna really do spring to mind.
Simeon has been told he will not see death until he has met Jesus. Nowadays, in our culture, death is something that we really would rather avoid, so if we were told something like this, what is the chance we would run as far away from that temple as possible so as to live longer?
I would certainly be tempted.
But Simeon stays where he is, he waits for Jesus, knowing it will mean his end. He waits, and when the sign that his end is near arrives, he praises God for sending light into the world, even if he doesn’t get to see it.
Anna is a prophet of a ‘great age’ who has lived a long life, first with family and then growing closer to God living and worshipping in the temple. The rhythms of the temple and the Jewish faith are her comfort and life, yet when a child comes who will shake it all up and bring change she praises God and excitedly tells everyone she can.
Neither Anna nor Simeon will live to see the lifework of Jesus but both are happy to leave the world with hope that it, and the people left behind, will see better days.
God help us to face our endings well and with you.
Help us to have hope for the world to come.
Give us the strength to invite change into our lives and our faith.
God, please be with us as we seek holy endings and new beginnings through your grace and love.