thinking theology

Malachi 3:1-4
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the One whom you seek will suddenly come to the temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, indeed is coming, says the Holy One of hosts.

But who can endure the day of this coming, and who can stand this appearance? For it will be like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;

The messenger of the covenant will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings in righteousness.

Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing as in the days of old and as in former years.

Psalm 84 (recommend sung version)
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!

My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.

Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Se

Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.

They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!

Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed.

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favour and honour. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly.

O LORD of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.

Hebrews 2:14-18
Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death.
For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham.
Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people.
Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”),
and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, (saying/ singing)( if the gospeller can sing, it would be good to insert the Nunc dimittis here in place of the spoken word.)
“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed–and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

When the parents had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

Collect
Gracious God, you give the aged hope, you startle those in their time of strength, and you bring power and possibility through the presence of the young. Grant our seniors wisdom, the workers of every generation, patience and openness to learning; and for all children, safety and shelter that their light may shine in the world. We pray in the name of Jesus, who brightens our lives with hope. Amen

Litany of Light
Gracious God, we remember Simeon and Anna. With them we rejoice in the light Jesus has brought into our lives. May this light also bless those who seek it, those who yearn for it, and those who return to it.

Today we pray for an end to violence, for the protection of all vulnerable creatures as well as humans. In the silence, remember……

We pray for the earth, giving thanks for the ground on which we walk, the beauty that surrounds us. May we learn again to walk gently, aware of the conditions and consequences of our actions. In the silence, remember…….

We hold those we love in the light of your peace, especially……….
In the love of the Creator, the light of Jesus, and the renewal of your Holy Spirit, we pray.

Prayer Over the Gifts
Loving God, everything that is is you, is blessed, is holy. Receive this fraction of the good gifts that we receive daily. May they contribute to the revelation of light and peace. Amen.

Prayer After Communion

Gracious God, together we are the holy hands and feet of Christ. Through this sacrament, we are renewed in the Light. May others be gladdened and find hope in all we do apart and together. Amen

Blessing
May you see the blessed light of Christ at each gate and pathway. May the beauty of hope and inspiration gladden your steps. May the joy of Simeon and Anna be stronger than your struggles, victorious over doubt, and gentle with you in the night times. In the name of the Maker of Light, the Revealer of Light, and the One who transforms by and into light. Amen

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