It’s a busy day today. There is a lot going on.
Astronomically, we are at the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is Candlemas marking the end of Ephiphany and our looking back at Christmas. It also marks “The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple” and “The Purification of the Virgin Mary”, major events in the church year. In our Pennsylvania culture, “It’s Groundhog Day !” . In France is it also “Crepe day” among others , but we will get to groundhogs and pancakes later. Let’s focus on Jesus, the Temple, and Simeon.
Simeon, a “just and devout” man of Jerusalem, was promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Christ. On this day, he was called to the Temple by the Holy Spirit and met Mary, Joseph and Jesus as they entered. His prayer continues to echo through the centuries as the “Nunc dimittis”, a featured part of our Evening Prayer service, funerals, and hymns. It is of my favorite verses and I find it particularly comforting at the passing of a loved one, or just noting the close of the day.
Now it is interesting that Simeon’s journey through spacetime involved waiting to meet the Christ. His journey was stationary but profound. It is even more interesting that Simeon’s response to meeting Jesus was a release. “Nunc dimittis” translates to “now release” (if Google is to be trusted). Release …. an echo back to Bishop Sean’s words at the start of our pilgrimage.
“And you might actually have to give up something that is dear to you for the sake of the people who have no relationship to God, and for the sake of the future of the church.”
Bishop Sean Rowe – 2015 Diocesan Convention
On our journey, we will likely have to give up things, to release things, that are dear to us. Our pilgrimage is not just about discovering things and bringing them back, but also about release.
While we ponder pilgrimage, discovery, and release, enjoy the words of Simeon and his release as he gratefully continues his journey. Please indulge a old choir boy my post from Rite 1, as I heard it in my youth.
The Song of Simeon Nunc dimittis Luke 2:29-32
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, *
according to thy word;
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, *
which thou hast prepared before the face of all people,
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, *
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.