Saturday, March 29, 2014

Let your servant go!

Preached at Evensong Sunday 30th March 2014
Luke 2:25-39  Nunc Dimittis
People delight in babies,
but we are perhaps at a time in history
where we have become very protective of children
and don't just hand them over to whoever.

The story  right at the tale end of the stories about the birth of Jesus
then, speaks of a different time.
As Mary and Joseph take their leave of Jerusalem
they perform their last act of thanksgiving at the Temple
there, an old man, Simeon, comes up to them and prophesies about this child
and an old woman, Anna, also a prophet praises God
and says this is the child who is sent by God for the world's redemption.
Simeon basically says "I can die now"
I wonder what would cause a person to utter
such a prayer of satisfaction
"Lord you can let me go in peace,"
Clearly he saw something which was complete
which was deeply satisfying

What would cause you or me to say
"I can die happily now, satisfied that  everything
that needs to be done
has been done!"

We can note
that there was plenty of stuff
that was NOT complete
--there was no end to injustice
--no end to inadequate worship
--there was no end to war
--nor to social injustice (usury & the abuse of power)

So how could Simeon have been satisfied
--we could say it was his great age
and a wise reflection that may come with age
that while much needs to be done
not everything can be done
--we could piously say
it was his inner relationship with God
BOTH of these are no doubt true

But in reality it is the hope
the hope of what this child will be
This is, I think, what excites us when confronted
by a child
the hope of what a child might be.

Hoping is different from Wishing.

We all know about what we wish for
and much of it is superficial and selfish

But a child confronts the very depth
of what we might hope for.
Hope is about fulfilment
the future & change

What do we hope for? For our children, for ourselves
for our world, and the sort of world a child know
About what God might be able to do in me
if only we would let him.
It is not about selfish or unrealistic wishing
But about fulfillment
our deepest longings.
It will not be about avoidance of pain
the words spoken to Mary are all too clear

It will be about being able to say
I have done what I was supposed to do
and now I can go!

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