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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Today’s Scripture ReadingLuke 2:21–40

Reflection
People can say some awkwardly personal things to expectant parents or parents of newborns. The weekend I candidated to be the pastor of a church in California in 2008, my wife, Meredith, was about five months pregnant with our daughter, Laura. During a cookies-and-coffee reception in the linoleum-floored fellowship hall after worship, as we greeted church members one by one, a delightfully cheery congregant shook my and Meredith’s hands, looked at Meredith’s midsection, and declared to us, “God has never blessed me with children of my own, but I love children.” Then she asked, “Can I speak to the baby?”

Meredith politely answered, “Sure.” To both our surprise, the woman then knelt in front of Meredith and cradled her stomach in two hands as she chirped a greeting to our unborn child. “Hello baby! How are you? We can’t wait to meet you!”

It was awkward.

I wonder if the way Meredith and I looked at each other then was anything like the way Joseph and Mary look as the old codger Simeon cradles their eight-day-old in his arms and begins singing about “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” And I wonder how Mary’s face registers his warning about what this child is destined for and the sword that will pierce Mary’s soul. I wonder because Luke doesn’t say. That seems like the kind of thing a person would respond to.

The new life coming into the world in this child interacts awkwardly, uncomfortably, with our conventions and expectations, as it is bound always to do.

Prayer
God of Simeon and Anna, of Joseph and Mary, help us to follow this child, that we may see more than we’ve looked for in this season and beyond it. Amen.

Written by Rocky Supinger, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry

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