Light a candle to symbolise God’s light breaking a new day
We move from Bethlehem to Jerusalem today. The child Jesus is taken to the Temple where he is welcomed, not by the authorities, but by Simeon and Anna, devout old people who have watched and waited long for the Messiah.
Hymn StF 21:
1 Born in song!
God’s people have always been singing.
Born in song!
Hearts and voices raised.
So today we worship together;
God alone is worthy to be praised.
2 Praise to God!
For he is the one who has made us.
Praise to God!
We his image bear.
Heaven and earth are full of his glory;
let creation praise him everywhere.
3 Christ is King!
He left all the glory of heaven.
Christ is King!
Born to share in our pain;
crucified, for sinners atoning,
risen, exalted, soon to come again.
4 Sing the song!
God’s Spirit is poured out among us.
Sing the song!
He has made us anew.
Ev’ry member part of the Body;
given his power, his will to seek and do.
5 Tell the world!
All power to Jesus is given.
Tell the world!
He is with us always.
Spread the word, that all may receive him;
every tongue confess and sing his praise.
6 Then the end!
Christ Jesus shall reign in his glory.
Then the end
of all earthly days.
Yet above the song will continue;
all his people still shall sing his praise.
Brian Hoare (b. 1935)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Loving God, thank you for faithful people like Anna and Simeon, who trusted your promises and were rewarded by meeting your son Jesus in the temple.
Help us to be like them, to not to give up on our faith in you, and to share the good news of what we see and hear with others.
Say The Lord’s Prayer
Bible Reading –
22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25Now 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. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided 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, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then 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 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36There 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 seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At 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. 39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
I like this story very much! I find Simeon and Anna very inspiring people as they truly had mastered the art of attentive and hope-filled waiting.
Many of us struggle to work with the seasons of our lives and become impatient, restless, and grumble when something gets put on hold for us.
From my understating of this reading, both Simeon and Anna waited prayerfully for decades before their eyes saw the salvation of the Lord. For Simeon, it was right towards the end of his life and Anna was 84 years old. Maybe they were not so much focused on the present but through their prayers and devotion, they learned not to hurry and wait patiently for the day of the Lord. At the right day and right time Simeon was guided by the Holy Spirit and Anna, through her discerning eyes was led to Jesus. On that day, they both saw the Word made flesh with their eyes. Due to their old age, they may not have had 100% eyesight but their spiritual eyes were sharper than anybody’s. With their spiritual eyes, they were able to see that this ordinary-seeming child will be the one to save both the Jews and Gentiles.
These two open-hearted people welcomed the new child with great joy. After their encounter with baby Jesus, Anna became one of the first evangelists, speaking about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Christ is born, he is present with us and he will come back again. For God, you are never too old. Maybe from Simeon and Anna, we can learn how to pray and wait patiently. So, may we develop the discerning eyes of Simeon and Anna and welcome the new with open hearts and rejoicing at the birth of the Saviour.
Prayers of Intercession
We pray for our own needs and the needs of those around us. We humbly and confidently ask our God for all the good things we need as we are coping with so many challenges and losses during these difficult times.
We pray for our families and friends;
Lord protect them and keep them safe.
We pray for those who have lost their loved ones,
for all the losses we know in our lives,
Lord comfort us all with your Easter promises.
We pray for God’s peace throughout the world;
Lord we pray for the power to be gentle, the strength to be forgiving, and patience to be understanding. Help us always to put our trust in your power to heal and restore our broken world.
God of great compassion and love,
listen to the prayers and bless us in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour. Amen
Hymn: StF – 232
To the tune ‘Rhuddlan’, 87, 87, 87, for the music, see below
1 Through long years of watchful waiting
Simeon’s deep devotion shone:
gratefully the child he cradles,
humbly holds God’s Holy One;
rests content in life’s quiet evening,
now his Temple task is done.
2 So God’s age-long word of promise
in that place is realised;
his salvation now embodied
as a helpless infant cried;
hearing Simeon’s pointed blessing
Mary’s heart is crucified.
3 In the following years she watched him
as he pondered God’s intent;
in that teeming crowd she lost him,
as his searching way he went;
in her grief, the son she mothered
for the whole world’s need was spent.
4 As the end of Christ’s obedience
on that towering cross appears:
Mary watches with the women
as the soldiers swing their spears;
Simeon’s word she recollected,
and her love dissolved in tears.
5 In Christ’s death outside the city
God’s own heart is pierced with pain:
in this world’s unending conflict,
seeds of hope on earth remain;
in the light of patient servants
Christ’s self-giving lives again.
Thomas G. Wilkinson (b. 1943)
May grace, mercy, and peace of the Saviour be with you now and evermore.
The Singing the Faith Tune 232 (Rhuddlan (Words ©Tom Wilkinson))