Malachi 3:1-4; Psalm 84; Hebrews 2:14-18; Saint Luke 2:22-40
In nomine Jesu!
As soon as Simeon and Anna saw Mary and Joseph bringing the infant Jesus into the Temple, they knew their life -- and all life -- had changed. For the better. For good.
As soon as Simeon and Anna saw Mary and Joseph bringing the infant Jesus into the Temple, they knew their hopes and dreams for a new life and a new way of living -- a free life, an un-oppressed life, a life shaped by promise and not merely by survival -- had been fulfilled.
And so they praised God, not simply because they saw the infant Jesus, but chiefly because, in Jesus, their faith had been confirmed and they were certain, more than ever, that God had kept every promise God had ever made; that God would always keep every promise God would ever make; and that they could trust God for the whole of their life and for the rest of human history. And so they joyfully affirmed: "Lord...your promise to me is certain and sure. We see it. We believe it. We will shape our lives by it."
Today, as we, your pastors, teachers and assembled congregations; today, as we, the whole Church, inclusively represented and embodied by our Bishop who will ask the Holy Spirit to confirm your faith and your affirmation; today, as we see your parents and godparents bring you into this temple and in Jesus, into God's presence; today we know that your life, and their life and our life has changed too. For the better and for good.
Today, as we see your parents and godparents bring you into this temple, we know that your hopes and dreams -- and theirs -- for a new life and a new way of living -- a free life -- for you and for them; an un-oppressed life -- for you and for them; your life and their lives, shaped by promise and not merely by survival; and our dreams for a more vital and more inclusive Church -- have been fulfilled too.
And so, with Simeon and Anna, we praise God too, not only because we see you -- and Christ in you, but chiefly because our faith is being confirmed with you and we are being made certain and sure with you, that God has kept and is continuing to keep all God's promises and that we will accompany you and you will accompany us as we follow Christ and trust God for the
whole of our lives until we gather together in the presence of Christ and in the nearer presence of God.
Today, in our presence you have already joyfully affirmed -- and we with you -- that God's promise to us is certain and sure. That you -- with us -- believe it and will shape our lives by it.
And here, at Christ's table, we can also see it. With Simeon and Anna, with all the saints, with the whole church on earth and with one another. See Jesus, carried among us in bread and wine. Carried in us to a church and a city and a world in desperate need of God's peace.
Your confirmation instruction will continue. (Our next class is from 10-2 on February 21.) With us, you have much knowledge to gain about the history of God keeping God's promises; a long way to go in wisdom and understanding; a lifetime to grow and become stronger more filled with wisdom; more confidant in favor of God. An eternity to discover joy in God's presence.
God has promised to favor you. You have promised to grow and learn and follow Christ. We are promising to accompany you; and you, us, along life's way "until the shadows lengthen,
the fever of life is over, the busy world is hushed" and we go to our God in peace. With your parents and godparents, with the church on earth, the hosts of heaven and all of us, enjoy this moment. Enjoy this life.