Forty days after Christmas the infant Jesus was presented in the temple of Jerusalem and placed in the arms of the old man Simeon (Luke 2:22-40) who declared: Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised; For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see: A Light … Continue reading Blessing Candles on the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas)
The Book of Occasional Services, one of the liturgical books in the Episcopal Church, offers several blessings specific to seasons and feast days. It does not, however, offer a blessing specific to the Feast of the Presentation, a major feast in the liturgical year. The following blessing has been prepared based upon the collects and gospel reading (Luke 2:22-40) for the day: May Almighty God, … Continue reading A Blessing Specific to the Feast of the Presentation
Let me tell you a little bit about Simeon, some things you may not know, some things that might surprise you.
Simeon is often identified as one of the seventy Hebrew scholars who translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek, what we know as the Septuagent. He surely was aware of Malachi’s prophecy, “The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple.” Simeon, as St. Luke tells it, had also been promised that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Simeon has been waiting, anticipating, and preparing a long time for the fulfillment of that prophecy and promise. Not just years or even decades but centuries. Our sacred tradition says that Simeon was more than 270 years old when he received Jesus in his arms. It’s no surprise then that Christian iconography shows Simeon to be old and hunched over, as if the years of waiting weigh heavy upon him. But there’s more. Our tradition also says that Simeon was blind.
How can this be? Two hundred seventy years old? Blind? What could a 270 year old blind man possibly see? None of this makes sense. Blind men don’t see. So, do we deny the tradition and declare it to be untrue, just wrong? Do we discount Simeon’s own words, “My eyes have seen your salvation?” Continue reading “Blindness and Seeing, A Sermon on Luke 2:22-40”
The Feast of the Presentation, celebrated on February 2, is one of the major feasts in the church year. It is sometimes known as Candlemas or the Feast of the Purification. This feast is celebrated forty days after Christmas and commemorates the presentation of Jesus and the purification of Mary in the Jerusalem temple (Luke 2:22-40). The name “Candlemas” focuses attention on the candlelight procession … Continue reading Blessing Candles on the Presentation of our Lord