Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.”
I imagine Simeon’s prayer could have continued something like this:
“Yahweh, you have proven yourself as a faithful, ever-present, and self-giving Master. I have been your servant for these many years, and it has been the pleasure of my life. Long ago the bright fire of your Spirit came to consume me. Since then, my eyes have looked in every direction for a single reality. You have filled my heart with a love for your Presence, and you have broken it over the plight of my people, who were your people first. You have given me few words with which to console them. My gifts from you were not words for your people, but tears for your people. I have offered you my mouth to speak through, but you preferred to weep through my eyes. I have been a man of prayer, and I have been a man of fasting. Even in my eating, I have never lost my longing for the Great Fulfillment.
“From the time that I became a man, my life has been as a single prostration before you. I am a man, and as such, I am subject to the same temptations as other men. I have dropped my shoulders and allowed the energy of my natural impulses to wash over me. I have offered no resistance, yet I have succumbed to no indulgence. I have felt the separation of heaven and earth within my body, and now my eyes at last fall upon the agent of connection . . . the one by whom you hold all things together. And now all things will be more held together than ever before. The tension of separation that I have carried like a brother in the center of my chest is finally released. There is no need for me to see anything else. Take me now, while my gratitude exceeds my expectations.”
Creator and Sustainer, remind us that you act only in response to our longing. Intensify our longing for that which is real, and birth in us an intolerance for anything less.
AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH, AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US.
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