Icebreaker: Thinking about waiting have we any amusing stories?
We started by looking at a black and white photograph taken in the 1930’s of a Durham miner just back from a shift and starting to eat his meal with his wife looking on. This was just one of a series taken across society at that time. Neil used it as a visual aid to focus on waiting.
This brought us to the reading and Simeon and Anna. They were both waiting in difficult times for the consolation of Israel, which had been promised in Jewish scriptures.
Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple following the law under purification after childbirth from Leviticus 12.
Each male child was to bring the redemption of Israel closer.
At this point Neil explained that Luke in his gospel wanted to show:
1. Jesus was fully human and fully God
2. Jesus was brought up under the Jewish law
3. Jesus would be identified as the poor and outcast
In the temple there was nothing to set Mary and Joseph apart, they were only able to afford the poorest of offerings. However both Simeon and Anna were able to see the radiance of God’s light shining on baby Jesus.
Simeon takes Jesus into his arms and praises God in saying (Nunc Dimittis) the first line asks to be released from life – he can now die in peace. He recognises Jesus as the light for all and the glory of Israel. Jesus walk would not be easy, it would cost. His ultimate sacrifice would be able to restore man’s right relationship with God.
Anna gave thanks to God and spoke to those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Candlemas is roughly midway between Christmas and Good Friday. We were asked how are we going to live in the tension of living at this time on our walk through Lent to Easter Sunday bringing to Jesus the painful issues, not the perfect things in life. These can show the healthy life of the Christian faith and the Church.
Neil finished by saying Jesus would say it is over to us.
1. Have you learnt anything new from this passage about Candlemas or the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple?
2. Jesus walk would not be easy. It would cost. Neil asked: ”What does that mean for us today?
3. What do we understand by the phrase “It is over to us”? Both as individuals and as the church in the 21st century here in Totley.
4. As we approach Lent would we find it helpful to look at a Lenten book together or to meet as we usually do and follow the notes from the previous Sunday talk?