Daily Worship

Words we don’t want to hear

Robert Allan February 09, 2021 0 0
Image credit: Unsplash
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Luke 2: 22-40 (GNT)

22 The time came for Joseph and Mary to perform the ceremony of purification, as the Law of Moses commanded. So they took the child to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, 23 as it is written in the law of the Lord: “Every first-born male is to be dedicated to the Lord.” 24 They also went to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the law of the Lord.

25 At that time there was a man named Simeon living in Jerusalem. He was a good, God-fearing man and was waiting for Israel to be saved. The Holy Spirit was with him 26 and had assured him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's promised Messiah. 27 Led by the Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple. When the parents brought the child Jesus into the Temple to do for him what the Law required, 28 Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God:

29 “Now, Lord, you have kept your promise,
    and you may let your servant go in peace.
30 With my own eyes I have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples:
32 A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles
    and bring glory to your people Israel.”

33 The child's father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon said about him. 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against 35 and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.”

36-37 There was a very old prophet, a widow named Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for only seven years and was now eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple; day and night she worshiped God, fasting and praying. 38 That very same hour she arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free.

39 When Joseph and Mary had finished doing all that was required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their hometown of Nazareth in Galilee. 40 The child grew and became strong; he was full of wisdom, and God's blessings were upon him.

A lovely story of Simeon and Anna as they recognise the Promised One. I wonder what else these two older people had been saying over the years and I wonder even more if anyone listened to them? The thing about prophets is that they have the canny knack of saying things you don’t want to hear. Even here in this story Simeon reveals that Jesus has been given a special mission by God — so far so good — but then he says to Mary that “sorrow like a sharp sword will break your own heart.” Did he have to say that? Mary leaves the ceremony with a niggling dark cloud at the back of her mind.

Waiting with patience, even into our advancing years, to see the light come might be what we have to do as well. To see climate change addressed, to witness poverty being over, to see racism end, and even to see the Church reform, we wait. But we do not wait silently, we wait and speak out like the prophets of old and say things that many don’t want to hear, in the world and yes even in the Church, but speak out we must.


Lord Jesus, you came to bring us back to God. In the face of worldly standards, in the face of hostility, in the face of blinkered religion, you revealed God’s way of love, you ushered in a new Kingdom, you spoke out and it led to the Cross. Help us to take up our cross and follow you, help us to speak out as your Spirit leads, and give us your patience and strength to keep on the path you have laid before us. Amen.