Relationships are some of the very best and most beautiful parts of this life. They reflect the heart of our God in so many ways, reminding us of how loved we are, encouraging us in moments of weakness, uplifting our weary spirits, challenging us to go deeper, and inviting us into the fullness of life. While relationships won’t always be easy, they are always worth it. We weren’t created to live this life alone! Whether it is with God, ourselves or others, we seek relationships that are real, meaningful and purposeful. We want the kind of relationships that carry us beyond ourselves and beyond the struggles of life. In Luke’s gospel, Simeon’s life is one of expectation, anticipation and waiting for the coming of the messiah . Like Simeon, we have all stood in that place waiting for and needing something to happen, living in expectation and hope, anticipating the future, and wondering if today was the day. We wait and hope for all sorts of things.
There have been times in my life when I had no idea how close God was to me. I suspect you too can recall times like that. They are times when we just didn’t see Christ or recognize him for who he was. We had no idea that He would show up in that way, that place, that time or situation. Sometimes it just seems too incredible to believe that God would come to us. Maybe it’s because we see God as distant, cold and uninvolved. Maybe it’s because we see ourselves as unworthy and undeserving. Maybe it’s because we were taught that God is more concerned about our behavior than our life. Maybe the pain, difficulty and losses of our life have caused us to wonder whether God even cares. Maybe God’s ways do not fit within our own expectations. We come anticipating that the promise of God’s presence and working in our lives can be seen and understood. The presentation of Jesus is more than the fact that Simeon held the baby Jesus, that Simeon’s eyes saw salvation, or that Simeon had been set free to go in peace.
The presentation is about the truth that there is no one to whom Jesus does not come. The issue is not Jesus’ coming to us. The issue is our preventing or consenting to his coming. Our work then is to always move from preventing to consenting. It means we experience fully God’s unique and irreplaceable love that seeks each one of us. In the end, it means we welcome God and the life he wants to give to us. The presentation of Jesus is a movement from preventing to consenting. That movement, that consent, is the fulfillment of all righteousness. It puts life and relationships back together again. It joins earth to heaven and humanity to divinity. Over and over again, Jesus comes into the struggles and triumphs, the joys and the tragedies, and the deaths and resurrections of our world and our lives. There is no part of your life or my life devoid of Jesus. He has presented himself to you and me completely. He sanctifies our life. He assumes all that we are and takes on our life. He comes into our life that we might be raised up into his. Yes, Jesus comes to us. He always has and always will. He can do nothing less. He is the God who comes when we least expect it. Let us consent to his coming. May our every word, action and choice in every relationship lead us to what is real, meaningful and purposeful.
Father, I need to feel your love today. I pray that you open my eyes to see and ears to hear your love for me. You know my name, my past, my triumphs and my wounds. Let me know it is never too late to call on you, to ask for your forgiveness, and live free as a Child of God. When I feel alone or unloved, let your love for me be so fierce that it radiates all around me. Let me live each day forward knowing that your love for me is more than I can ever imagine and that I am not alone.
Father, whenever I find it easier to love myself more than others, give me eyes to see how special all of your children are. Give me opportunities to sit down with those that don’t look or think like me so that I can learn what it really means to love my neighbor. Help me to be kind, encouraging, forgiving, loving to all those around me, treating others with love no matter what. Give me the grace and strength to move from day to day with an outpouring of love, especially for my neighbor in need.
Thank you, Father, that no matter where my heart is, you are always reaching out to love me unconditionally! You are the ultimate example of love and I am grateful. In Jesus’ Holy name I pray, Amen.