To the people of God on the way to the promised end,
Warm greetings to you in this first “love letter” of the new year!
In South Africa, the first Sunday in February was often set aside in Methodist Churches for our annual Covenant services in which each person was encouraged to make a radical declaration of love and loyalty to God. Though its language has been modernised, the words of the covenant prayer penned by John Wesley can still be jarring to 21st century ears (and hearts): “I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will .…”
In this week’s Gospel reading (Luke 2:22-40), we encounter two (very old) characters at the Temple who embody this prayer beautifully – Simeon and Anna: male and female, priest and prophetess; both devout; both longing and waiting and praying for the salvation of God’s people; both filled with wonder and uncontainable joy at seeing God’s promises fulfilled in this Christ child who would grow in wisdom and become strong in God’s grace.
As we seek to be faithful disciples like Anna and Simeon, to proclaim the message of hope and salvation, I wonder:
- how may we better hold the living God in our arms in this new year?
- how may he be born(e) in the midst of both the light and the dark of life, the highs and the lows, the celebrations and the sorrows?
- how may he continue, through us, to be touched by the brokenness and sorrow and worry and pain of everyday people and to offer, through us, support and healing and comfort – particularly to the most vulnerable in our society?
As God’s Church, I pray that 2020 will be a time of growth, self-offering, and deeper unity as we walk in the way of the Spirit and use our diverse gifts for the building up of the Body and in expressing God’s all-embracing love in life-giving ways in the world around us.
Yours in Christ