Thursday March 28, 2019
Today’s Focus Blessings abound
Today’s Scripture Reading Luke 2:25-35
25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him
Daily Reflection Pastor’s reflection
Joseph and Mary, being “righteous” Jewish couple, went about the process of fulfilling the requirement of the Jewish law regarding infant circumcision and purification of the mother following birth. Along the way this beautiful couple is “blessed” by God through Simeon and Anna. Through the words spoken by these two prophets, Mary and Joseph receive anew the blessings of God through these two very “human” prophets.
Often we have been taught in our world to think “critically” of different situations. Our eyes quickly move to things that are “out of place” and often our immediate reaction is to “fix” the problem or at least point out the problem. When we are tested in school situations, we often focus on the questions that we got “wrong” instead of seeing the information that we have mastered. The same is true when we encounter other people. We tend to be quick to share another person’s shortcomings instead of sharing the person’s gifts.
Words can be very powerful!
One of the worst teachings that I learned as a child was “sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never harm me.” Trust me when I tell you that in my vocation while bones usually heal, hurtful, spiteful, and critical words may never fully heal. My guess is that each of you reading this know this to be true… and if you don’t then God bless you for you have truly led a blessed life.
May our thoughts and our words cast abundant blessings out into the world!
Some questions for reflection
- Sharing “blessings” especially in the context of celebrations or big events are especially vital in the formation of person’s sense of belonging. Do you think that the person “being blessed” is the only one that benefits from the blessing itself? Why or why not.
- Recall a time in your life when you have “been blessed” recall how those blessings made you feel. Do you believe that Mary and Joseph would have felt the same way you did? Why or why not.
Today’s discipleship challenge
Think about someone you would like to “bless” today with bearing witness to the light they share in the world. Then…. Bless them. Share with your group or a trusted friend how this event made you feel and how you perceived the other person felt in receiving the blessing.
Eternal God, we thank You for the people who surround us in our community and in our congregation. As these people have been a blessing to us, so now allow us to bless them for the gifts they share and the witness they provide. Send us all out into this world that we might be a blessing to others as we have been blessed ourselves. Amen.