Sunday's scriptures will focus on Simeon and Anna, two elders of the Jewish community in Jerusalem. Simeon had been promised he would not see death until he had seen the Messiah come. His words "Lord, now let your servant depart in peace ..." have been become one of the ancient songs of the church. In many traditions, this is the response sung after receiving communion. About a year ago, I wrote a setting of these words sung as though I were a Jewish man. Composers can do that when words move them.
Anna, we are told, was an elderly widow who devoted her life to prayer and churchwork, much like many of our older members. They model for us how to live our lives in sync with God. They proclaim as loudly as their voices are able the good news of Emanuel, God with us. Imagine being that young couple, Mary and Joseph, and you are listening to the elders of the community praising God because of your child. No wonder "Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." It is almost too much to assimilate.
God was doing something new. The prophet Isaiah told us in his message in chapter 43, "Behold, I am doing a new thing ..." Here in Luke 2, God is doing a new thing. He is living and dwelling among us. We are reminded again in Revelation 21 "Behold, I make all thing new." So whether we are in Genesis, Isaiah, Revelation, or entering A.D. 2021, God is at work making all things new. With Simeon, we can point to the "light to lighten all nations." With Anna, we can tell others that God is at work redeeming Jerusalem (a crossroad for the nations and a metaphor for the whole creation).
Our old may dream dreams and our young may see visions (paraphrasing Joel and Acts), but we all have the task of proclaiming the God with us to our brothers and sisters in and out of the faith. May 2021 be the year of the Lord's favor, a jubilee to the Lord.