As I sat in my chapel praying early this morning, I could hear the snow plows clearing the snow from the two major streets that run along my house. Yesterday and last night we had one of the heaviest snows of recent years. Two thoughts crossed my mind. First of all, I had to get up from prayer and watch the plows. I was easily distracted to watch this display of the power of nature vs. the power of human ingenuity. When I sat back down to continue my prayer, I asked the Lord: “Please, LORD, let me be as fascinated with you as I am with these worldly distractions!”
This seemed to capture one of the great needs of our time, to be captivated by God’s grandeur, rather than all of the lesser things of this world.
My second thought of the morning had to do with our worldly understanding of power and the manner in which God demonstrates his power through ‘littleness’ and ‘humility.’ As I heard the snow plows this morning, there was a part of me that wanted to be driving those big trucks, and pushing that snow. I could not wait to finish prayer and put on my warm cloths and get outside and start shoveling the snow from the steps and walks.
Since we celebrate today the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, I was praying with these readings. The Prophet Malachi foretold the moment Mary and Joseph would bring the infant Jesus to the temple:
And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? (Malachi 3:1-4)
God appears upon the earth as a small, vulnerable child. Mary and Joseph bring the infant Jesus to the temple in keeping with Jewish tradition. Jesus, the Son of God, is presented formally to his Father. The great works of God in freeing Israel from slavery in Egypt is recalled in this Presentation. This act of worship recalls the time that God claimed all the first born of Egypt and foretells of the ultimate salvation that will be achieved by his own Son, Jesus Christ. This is the power of God that still fascinates the imagination of believers today!
My dear friends, may this salvation of God continue to captivate us, so we may better live in the freedom won for us by Christ. May the words of Simeon from today’s Feast continue to inspire us of the work of Christ in our lives and world today:
Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)