A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He was righteous and devout. He eagerly anticipated the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he wouldn’t die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple area. Meanwhile, Jesus’ parents brought the child to the temple so that they could do what was customary under the Law. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said, “Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation. You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples. It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel.” His father and mother were amazed by what was said about him. [Luke 2:25-33 (CEB)]
Known to many by the Latin title of a canticle that expresses the joyous response of an elderly man to the presence of the child he had spent his life seeking. This is the Song of Simeon, or the Nunc dimittis. As we ponder this beloved passage of Scripture, as it is rendered in contemporary English (Common English Bible), it is appropriate to also hear it in a more traditional voice, in this case the Book of Common Prayer, where it serves a canticle or hymn for Evening Prayer:
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace: according to thy word.For mine eyes have sseen: thy salvation;Which thou hast prepared: before the face of all people;To be a light to lighten the Gentiles: and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Now, let me depart in peace, for I have seen your salvation, as was promised according to your word. The journey has come to its completion, and now Simeon can rest in peace.
Christmas has not yet overtaken Advent. We’re still waiting and preparing for that day, but today’s text speaks from after the Christmas event, beckoning forward on the journey. It calls us beyond the manger, to the cross and then to the resurrection. In this, the full story, there is good news. May we continue on our journey in hope, persevering to the end, knowing that we too shall see our salvation.
This meditation is offered as part of the Common English Bible Advent Blog Tour