Jun 30

Rev Gav

Purification

Luke 2:22-24. Private or public rituals and ceremonies demonstrate that we are serious about our relationship with God.

Luke 2:22-24

22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” 24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

The Prophecy of Simeon

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.”

The Prophecy of Anna

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.

Reflect

Human beings like ceremonies and rituals — formal parties or actions that celebrate significant moments in our lives — such as births, deaths, new relationships, and new beginnings. We gather together and say specially prepared words, make special movements, or do special things to mark the occasion.

After the birth of Jesus his parents, Joseph and Mary, obeyed the Jewish religious law by performing three rituals all in one go:

  1. The purification ritual for a woman forty days after childbirth.
  2. The presentation of the firstborn child to God.
  3. The dedication of the firstborn into the service of the Lord.

The trio travelled from Nazareth to the temple in Jerusalem to complete the ceremony and when they got there they bought a pair of doves and made an offering of them. It might seem strange to us today that people would do this, but it shows that Jesus’ parents were serious about their religion and wanted to be obedient to God.

In the Christian faith, unlike Mary and Joseph were back then, we are not living under a religious law. We do not have to participate in such religious ceremonies, however, we can find them helpful. Like Mary and Joseph, it is not the format or the style, but the heart of those participating that is the most important thing, and Joseph’s and Mary’s hearts were in the right place.

Do

Private or public rituals and ceremonies demonstrate that we are serious about our relationship with God. Do you have a special place you like to go? It could be a room in your house, or somewhere outdoors — a park or beach. This week, plan to make a secret journey there and when you get there, pray or say some special words.

Pray

Holy God
Help me find something in my week
that will demonstrate that I’m serious about you.
I want to show you that I love you
and have put you first in my life.
This day and for ever.
Amen.

Think

What kind of things do Christians do today to show that they’re serious about their religion and want to be obedient to God?

Tim Rogers Jul 1 20:49pm

Its interesting you raise this topic. In the Cathedral in Vancouver last week i entered a labyrinth that they have set out on floor for people to walk thru in order to meditate and be at one with God and set an intention. The oldest in existence is at Chartres dating to 1201. The labyrinth provides a form of walking meditation.

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