A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.


Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Prayers of the People: The Presentation of Jesus

40 Days Later...  Sunday, February 2, 40 days after Christmas, is packed with theological and liturgical significance. A special Feast day in the Church calendar, it is sometimes overlooked when, as in most years, it falls on a weekday. The official name is: The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple. It is also recognized as The Purification of Mary  because the Law of Moses required that she – like the Infant Jesus – participate in a rite of purification 40 days after childbirth. Some Christians marks this as the official end of the Christmas season - because beyond the “12 Days of Christmas” between Christmas Day and the Epiphany - this day concludes the 40 Days of the Incarnation. The day is also Candlemas, a traditional time to bless candles for liturgical use. And of course, the period of time of 40 Days in itself is frequently used throughout the Hebrew and Christian Testaments of The Bible to highlight auspicious activities.

               The focus of today’s readings for us is the Infant being presented for purification in the Temple in Jerusalem – a fulfillment of prophecy, a revelation. The holy Simeon, an aged, righteous, and devout man is waiting for sight of the Messiah before he will know death. How many times has he looked at a child and wondered – is it him? Yet this time he knows. He takes this Child in his arms; his joy is palpable. Another aged prophet, Anna, breaks out in praise of God and tells everyone about this special Baby. We can easily get caught up in the moment – remember the excitement of special births, baptisms or christenings in your family?

              Then in the midst of the all the elation, Simeon gives Mary a hint of things to come when he says, “This Child is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel…a sign that will be opposed…a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Given all that Mary and Joseph have experienced so far – Angel announcements, the difficult journey to Bethlehem, the birth in less than ideal circumstances, shepherds, heavenly choruses, Wise Men, and prophetic dreams…one can barely imagine what the young new mother, Mary, is thinking. Perhaps Cornish poet Charles Causley’s words gives voice to Mary’s thoughts and to every parent’s hopeful yet anxious wish:

Vivid upon her tongue
Unspoken prayers
That she may not outlive
The life she bears.

Readings:  Malachi 3:1-4, Ps 84, Hebrews 2:14-18, Lk 2:22-40  
                                                                                                       Let us, God's People, Pray


Leader: ~ Jesus, the Joy of Simeon who knows Your arrival is a cataclysmic event!  Keep us always surprised and joyful at your sudden arrivals in our hearts and minds and let our lives radiate the exhilaration of being in Your Presence.
                   O Lord of Hosts
Response: We put our trust in You





~ Jesus, Joy of Simeon, we present ourselves to you as pilgrims on Your Way.  Refine and purify our hearts and souls so that we may find favor as servant messengers of Your Covenant.
                  O Lord of Hosts  
                  We put our trust in You

~ Jesus, Joy of Simeon, attend to those who present themselves in the world’s temples of government.  Fill their hearts with Your wisdom, justice, and mercy and diverge them from paths of greed and inhumanity. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                O Lord of Hosts 
                   We put our trust in You

~ Jesus, Joy of Simeon, we ask Your Healing for all who are seriously ill, frightened, or exhausted, and for those who tend to their needs.  Care for them as sparrows nesting by Your altar and give their wings renewed flight in hope. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                    O Lord of Hosts 
                    We put our trust in You

~ Jesus, Joy of Simeon, open our eyes to Your Place of Springs in the desert of sorrow, as the ones whose loss we mourn are set free in peace to a new life in the fullness of Your Salvation and Glory. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                     O Lord of Hosts 
                     We put our trust in You

~ Jesus, Joy of Simeon, Grant continuous discernment, wisdom, and prophetic understanding to those who guide Your Church and those who worship within it.  May the Spirit Most High keep us all merciful and faithful servants of Your Word.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions
                      O Lord of Hosts 
                      We put our trust in You

Celebrant adds:  Lord God of Sun and Shield, we, the humble hosts in Your Creation, rejoice with Simeon and Anna, Mary and Joseph, and prepare ourselves for the many risings and fallings yet to come in our own lives.  We re-dedicate ourselves to You on this day and ask Your blessings for strength, integrity, and faithfulness through Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit who live and reign with You as one God, now and for eternity.  Amen.







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