Luke 2:22-35 NRSVue

22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah., 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word, 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul, too.”

Some thoughts on this scripture

At the Presentation in the Temple, Mary and Joseph made /the Offering of the Poor / -- two pigeons instead of the lamb which was the offering of the better-off. They met Simeon, one of /the Quiet in the Land,/ Jews who awaited God's coming to his people in a spirit of prayer and quiet watchfulness, rather than the expectation of a triumphant warlord. In my prayer I join Mary in listening to Simeon's lovely but loaded message.

Modern minds find the notion of 'purification' very strange. To the Israelite mind certain profane and sacred things, including childbirth, possessed mysterious qualities that communicated themselves to anyone who came in contact with them, and set such people in a class apart from the ordinary. In order to return to the everyday world and activity, such people had to be 'purified.' While such an attitude reflects a primitive mentality, the legislation surrounding purification did set the Israelites apart from other nations and gave them a greater sense of their own identity.

As I meditate on the story of the Presentation in the Temple, I let God speak to me especially through the words of Simeon.