The gospel this week tells the story of Simeon, a man who had been waiting (and hoping) all his life to see the Messiah, and Simeon had been promised that he would not die until this had happened. So when Joseph, Mary, and Jesus came for their purification, Simeon immediately recognizes God’s “salvation”. The words Simeon speaks have been set to music many times and, known as nunc dimiitis, is an integral part of many worship services. To bring this to today and our everyday experience, we can recognize many who bring “salvation”, not necessarily Jesus but the many who serve. How blessed are we.
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. . . Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; . . . It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 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, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. . . .
sermons4kids: “As soon as Simeon saw the baby, he knew that Jesus was the Christ and that God had kept his promise that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. God is faithful to his promises, 100%!”
Collect: Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: Consider Simeon’s song as a charge to parishioners to go, seeing the fulfillment in Christ, but instead of being released, being charged to depart from the security of our gatherings to tell and share this good news of great hope in a world that sorely needs to hear it.
Practice: What are ways you can share the good news?
Saint Focus: The Dorchester Chaplains, honored on February 3, were serving on the USAT Dorchester in WWII when the Dorchester was hit by a German torpedo and sunk. The chaplains helped many of the crew to lifeboats and gave up their own lifejackets. Even so, many did not survive the freezing water. The chaplains were Lt. George Fox, Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Lt. Colark V. Poling, and Lt. John P. Washington. Offer up their names in your prayers today. Read more at the link below [from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were :
- 26; Timothy & Titus, Companions of Saint Paul
- 27; John Chrysostom, Bishop & Theologian, 407
- 28; Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Friar, 1274 AND Isaac of Nineveh, Bishop & Mystic, c.700
- 29; Andrei Rublev, Monk and Iconographer, 1430
- 31; Marcella of Rome, Monastic & Scholar, 410; AND John Bosco, Priest, 1888; AND Samuel Shoemaker, Priest and Evangelist, 1963
- Feb 1; Brigid of Kildare, Monastic, 523
- 2; The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple; AND Esther John (Qamar Zia), Nurse & Martyr, 1960
- 3; The Dorchester Chaplains: Lieutenant George Fox, Lieutenant Alexander D. Goode, Lieutenant Clark V. Poling and Lieutenant John P. Washington, 1943; AND Anskar, Archbishop & Missionary, 865
- 4; Manche Masemola, Martyr, 1928; and Cornelius the Centurion
Movies/Videos: “Samsara” (2011), nonverbal exploration; “Conversations with God” (2006), homeless man becomes spiritual messenger; “The Celestine Prophecy” (2006), following your bliss & trusting the universe.
image Simeon receives the infant Jesus, Lebrecht Music and Art Photo Library, Alamy
Is Micah 6:8 more than a t-shirt slogan today? We can certainly hope so, although the non-profit Happy Givers have quite a nice line of Micah 6:8 items. Seriously, how do we live in relationship with God as God desires and simultaneously live in the world? What does it means to “. . . do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” How do we do that in 21st century contexts? What might be examples of people living out this kind of life? .
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So what does it mean to be a fool for Christ? It could mean living like the late Ken Feit, who called himself an itinerant fool for Christ. Ken was a Jesuit seminarian who eventually left the Jesuits to become a vocational fool. He trained at clown school, learned pantomime and sign language, and studied storytelling with Native American and African storytellers. He traveled the world sharing, or “making” (as he would say), stories. This twentieth century fool said, “I am interested in the fool as an agent of spirituality. Unless we become as fools, we cannot really be wise.” You can read more about him here and here.
What would it look like for us to become more like holy fools for Christ? Just check out what God says in this week’s lesson from Micah, how the Psalmist sings, and what Jesus teaches in the lesson from Matthew’s gospel. To the majority of the world these teachings may seem foolish, or perhaps merely irrelevant. For followers of Christ these teachings are wise and too be woven into the fabric of our lives. What do we need to release to be a holy fool? What do we need to change? What if all of us took some baby steps toward foolishness?
Granted, clown school isn’t for everyone, but the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for all people. Here’s to more Holy Fools in the Body of Christ! After all, no one should die from a case of terminal seriousness.
From Stewardship of Life Institute website.