Luke chapter 2 verses 25 – 28
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,
‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
One of the things about riding a bike is that you don’t usually have to queue very long. You can almost always sail to the front of the queue at traffic lights, usually safely without having to gingerly pass on the inside, lorries which have stickers which say ‘If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you’. This has a curious effect on me which probably says something detrimental about my personality. When I’m driving a car and in a queue, I find I am much more patient than I used to be because I think, with a little supercilious smirk, that normally I would just leave all these unfortunate drivers behind on my bike.
Simeon had been waiting for a long time. The divine traffic lights had remained resolutely red for him as he waited for the Lord’s Messiah to arrive. Did he wait patiently or with increasing desperation as he watched God’s chosen people the Jews, in need of a Saviour? Did he doubt himself? Did his waiting stop him living everyday life? Could he think about anything else? There are many questions we do not know the answer to! Anyway, that day, he went into the temple precincts in Jerusalem, and he knew, he just knew, that this was the child, born to be the Messiah, born to be Christ, born to be the consolation of Israel.. His waiting was over. His job was done.
There’s been a lot of waiting this year. Queuing outside shops (remember that?). Waiting for children to go back to school. Waiting for infection rates to reduce. Waiting for lockdown to relax. Waiting to be able to sing in church. One of the things I have been hearing recently is the number of people who were shielding until the beginning of August. Having hit that magical, rather arbitrary date they then thought that they would be able to regain some sort of social life but that that hasn’t happened, either because their friends are still shielding, or because their much missed social activities have not restarted. It’s all been rather an anticlimax!
If you are getting frustrated or weighed down by waiting, perhaps reading the story of Simeon waiting for the Messiah might help. We learn that God sometimes calls us to wait. We learn about the uncertainty of Simeon’s position; it was only his relationship with God that assured him that his waiting was not going to be in vain. To many he must have just seemed like an eccentric old man. And he was waiting for something worthwhile. So take your waiting to God and ask that, like Simeon, he might show you some purpose in your waiting. And hope that you don’t have to wait too long before you hear an answer!
When we wait with hope it is like sitting in the dark of night before the first rays of dawn have appeared. We know the dawn will come, but we cannot hurry it. We can watch and wait with hope to receive the first lights with joy.
I wait for you to answer.
I wait for the first light of dawn.
I wait for you.
I wait for you.
I wait for you.
My waiting is my prayer.
In the pain of the waiting I feel my longing for you.
I long for you to be here.
I wait for your arrival, you who has always been here.
In the waiting I know a larger space in my soul is being excavated.
I can feel the growing emptiness.
But I know that it will be filled
with your gracious, loving presence.
Make me ready to receive you.
This is ‘Simeon in the temple’ by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, ()not an artist with whom I am familiar!)
Visit https://www.theleidencollection.com/artwork/simeon-in-the-temple/ for moore information. I like the centrality of Christ and the delight of Simeon.