Faith and Refining

While the nation celebrates Groundhog Day, we as a church celebrate the Feast of the Presentation as recounted in today’s gospel. St. Luke’s narration is of the Presentation in the Temple. The presentation that was required 40 days after Jesus’ nativity to complete Mary’s ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son, in obedience to the Torah (cf. Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12–15). It is then and there that the Holy Family encountered Simeon who had waited a lifetime. Then suddenly Jesus was there. Simeon possessed a patience and faith most of us do not possess. Continue reading

Nunc Dimittis

The gospel for today is one of my favorite passages: Luke 2, the Nunc Dimitis, or the encounter with Simeon in the Temple. The moniker of the passage comes from the opening words in the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible: “Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace” – 29Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,31 which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”  (Luke 2:29-32)

Continue reading

End of Watch

Preparations, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day followed immediately by the Feast of the Holy Family; a long stretch. Serve in the military and at some point you will “stand watch” as we would say in the Navy. Each branch of the service has its own name. The experience is the same. I think anyone who has ever stood sentry, stood watch, served during the “dog watch”, been on duty during the long hours of the night as others sleep – we all remember the dilation of time as it seemed to slow and stretch forever. Biding time. Scanning for the first glimmers of light through the long shade of night. The tiring body, the yawns, talking to one’s self… and then the morning star pushed the first light over the horizon, slowly glowing, pushing back the night, and painting the world with a new day. At last, duty is done and one reports in to command, “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled…Continue reading

Your Last Words

In today’s Gospel on this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we hear last words. We have always placed a special emphasis on last words. There are websites dedicated to recording the last words of famous people. Some are profound, some hilarious, and some ironic. Movies highlight the last words of the dying. I guess it is that we believe that for the person, this is their last shot at figuring things out, summing things up. We assume that at death’s doorway there is no need nor desire for pretense or fabrication, but only moments of deep, abiding truth and wisdom – and we hang on the edge of our seats.

Continue reading

End of Watch

Serve in the military and at some point you will “stand watch” as we would say in the Navy. Each branch of the service has its own name. The experience is the same. I think anyone who has ever stood sentry, stood watch, served during the “dog watch”, been on duty during the long hours of the night as others sleep – we all remember the dilation of time as it seemed to slow and stretch forever. Biding time. Scanning for the first glimmers of light through the long shade of night. The tiring body, the yawns, talking to one’s self… and then the morning star pushed the first light over the horizon, slowly glowing, pushing back the night, and painting the world with a new day. At last, duty is done and one reports in to command, “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled…Continue reading

Last Words

LastWordsLast words. We have always place a special emphasis on last words. There are websites dedicated to recording the last words of famous people. Some are profound, some hilarious, and some ironic. Movies highlight the last words of the dying. I guess it is that we believe that for the person, this is their last shot at figuring things out, summing things up. We assume that at death’s doorway there is no need nor desire for pretense or fabrication, but only moments of deep, abiding truth and wisdom – and we hang on the edge of our seats. Continue reading

Nunc Dimittis

Sunday is the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus in Year B. In years past there were no options for the readings. The gospel was always from Matthew 2, the death of the Innocents and the escape to Egypt. Now each lectionary cycle has its own gospel. This year the gospel is one of my favorite passages: Luke 2, the Nunc Dimitis, or the encounter with Simeon in the Temple. The moniker of the passage comes from the opening words in the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible: “Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace” – 29Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,31 which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”  (Luke 2:29-32)

Continue reading

The Light and the Story

All stories begin somewhere. Here is where our story begins:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5)

And that is just the start. The story of light and Jesus the Christ continued. Continue reading

Being Simeon

In today gospel account, it is now forty days after Jesus’ birth. Mary and Joseph are performing their duty as pious Jewish parents by coming to the Temple to fulfill the requirements of Exodus 13. It is a ritual that reminds the parents that this child is now a member of the family that God redeemed from the slavery in Egypt. And so, they come to offer a simple sacrifice as they dedicate their first-born child to the Lord and to the larger, holy covenant family of God. Continue reading

Let me go in peace.

LastWordsLast words. We have always place a special emphasis on last words. There are websites dedicated to recording the last words of famous people. Some are profound, some hilarious, and some ironic. Movies highlight the last words of the dying. I guess it is that we believe that for the person, this is their last shot at figuring things out, summing things up. We assume that at death’s doorway there is no need nor desire for pretense or fabrication, but only moments of deep, abiding truth and wisdom – and we hang on the edge of our seats. Continue reading