How important is the presence of Jesus Christ to you? The saints in Israel gloried in the covenant God who dwelt in their presence. He who alone is God, who is above all gods, the God who does all that he pleases, was in their midst. The result was glorious praise from all the quarters of Israel’s population:
O house of Israel, bless the LORD!
O house of Aaron, bless the LORD!
O house of Levi, bless the LORD!
You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD!
Blessed be the LORD from Zion,
he who dwells in Jerusalem!
Praise the LORD!
– Psalm 135:19-21
The Psalmist calls for exuberant praise, because the true God is their God, and he dwells with them in covenant faithfulness. When Jesus came into the world, we see Simeon and Anna responding with the same kind of blessing and thanksgiving. I wonder, have we this same exuberance and praise for Christ who dwells with us and is with us.
In the prayer service, we’ll return to David’s prayer of gratitude in 2 Samuel 7. We’ll be singing Give Praise to God (Gray 51) to begin our praise.
Last week, I began preaching through Luke 2:21-40, a text that encompasses Jesus’s circumcision, Jesus’s visit to Jerusalem for the purification and consecration rites, the welcome he received from Simeon and Anna, and his return to Nazareth. This week, we continue where we left off, in the middle of Simeon’s interaction with the holy family. Simeon’s reception of Jesus is wonderful, and full of comfort. Yet his prophecy about the Christ’s future is not exclusively positive. Jesus will create a divide in Israel. Anna is on the right side of this divide, as she adds her own testimony concerning the glory of Christ Jesus.
Call to Worship: Psalm 135:19-21
Hymn 253 [Gray] Come, Thou Fount
Congregational Reading: Psalm 130
Hymn 294 [Red] At the Name of Jesus
Hymn 156 [Red] O Come with Thanks, God’s Goodness Praising When Simeon turns from his prayer to address Mary, he tells Mary that Jesus will be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel. His words remind us of the words of Psalm 118:22, The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. For this reason, it’s good for us to sing these words in this setting of Psalm 118: The stone the builders had rejected was chosen as the cornerstone. This marvelous act, most unexpected, the doing is of God alone.
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 1:1-19 & Luke 20:41-21:9
Hymn 63 [Gray] Praise Ye the Father
Sermon: Nunc Dimittis, Part 2 from Luke 2:22-40
Hymn 337 [Gray] Jerusalem the Golden
After lunch, we’ll return at 1:30 for our Annual Business Meeting.