Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

(Painting: Rembrandt, Simeon with the Christ Child, 1666)

Canticle 17 The Song of Simeon
Nunc Dimittis Luke 2:29-32

Lord, you now have set your servant free *
to go in peace as you have promised;

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:

A Light to enlighten the nations, *
and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Continuing on with the traditional meanings of the weeks of Advent, the second week of Advent is about "peace." That is a hard topic for those of us who watch the news at supper time. An hour with the daily news pretty much confirms that the world has no inclinations to be at peace. War, violence, and hatred still seem to be pretty hotly traded commodities in how the currency of the world works.

The theme of "peace" in this week has a tendency to flare my emotions at a local level, too. My own thoughts often turn to wondering how many families in my town will be affected by domestic violence. I sometimes imagine how many family members are turning themselves out in the cold and fleeing from violent acts in this "season of peace." My local news channel ran a story last week about a man who was arrested for beating his wife with the branches from an artificial Christmas tree! I could imagine that story in my mind's eye--a family trying to have a classic happy time putting up the tree, and maybe liquor or economic hardship sparked a harsh word or two and next thing you know, decorations are flying and the lava from the volcano of anger burns everyone at the scene. Some of the things related to my own family of origin, unfortunately, allow me to imagine this scene quite vividly.

I sometimes wonder if Simeon in the Luke 2 presentation story wasn't a little bit this way. History doesn't tell us much about Simeon, which allows me to imagine a little. (I actually like it when we don't know much about Biblical characters--maybe that is how teaching through parable stories works, eh?) What little legend about Simeon is out there, is that he was a "just and devout" man; I wonder if he wasn't one of the "odd old ducks that hung out at the temple." You know, kind of like the older folks you might know in your parish that have "been there forever," and won't leave until they die. Sweet and a tad odd all at once.

I wonder if Simeon saw the world with world-weary eyes, as I sometimes do--which allows us to make things that are really good stand out. I think about a little boy I met Saturday. I had gone to town to support two of my friends that were ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. I had been teasing them that I was going to stand out front and sing the old "Salvation Army" song that was often done on high school bus trips:

"Salvation ARRRRMY! Salvation ARRRRRMY! Put a nickel in the pot, save another drunken sot! Salvation ARRRRRMY! Salvation ARRRRRRRMY! Put a nickel in the pot and you'll be saaaaavvvvvved!"

When I got there, I saw they had a little boy with them; he was the son of a co-worker. I was totally struck by his "exuberant sweetness!" Rambunctious, eager, a little hyper, but incredibly sweet and good-hearted." My day was better the rest of the day for meeting that little guy.

Yesterday, I had gone to the early service at another church where another friend is in the handbell choir. When I got there, I ran into other friends and their daughter, who is another incredibly bright, eager, smart little girl, whom I've been struck by for years. I was thrilled to death she wanted to sit with me and not with her parents, and I was more than happy to oblige.

When I see these kind of children, well...I know them when I see them, and all the pain of a weary world melts before me in the time I spend with them--and the experience lasts the rest of the day. I can't totally explain it except "I know these children when I see them."

I wonder if that wasn't what happened to Simeon that day in the temple. World-weary, crusty old Simeon, who felt the pain of the world enough to work hard at living a "devout and just" life in the middle of war, violence, sickness, and pain, came to the temple that day and saw a little guy that just bowled him over with the honest love that literally leaked from the child's pores. He knew it when he saw it--and wasn't about to let the moment pass without saying so in the temple.

May each of see one of those "holy children" this week.


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Some children definitely have a way of loving and being that is so open, so unaffected and so real that it is breath taking. It's their zen - their ability to be in the now, I think.

Although, I don't think I was ever that zen - not even as a kid!

The Salvation Army is very, very, bad.
Ask your friends about Jennifer Gale.

Lindy, I know all about Jennifer Gale. But honestly, this time of year, for me, that is not a battle worth fighting with two volunteers from the community standing in front of a pot at this time of the year, who only volunteer once a year. My rolled up $1 because I pay attention to my friends standing in the cold is not going to contribute to the ruination of the world that much.

It's very much the same dilemma I have with our companion diocese of Lui. Their bishop is one of the nasty "African bishops." But those people need clean water. Lisa Fox's blog, when she talks about her devotion to the humanitarian efforts in Lui, despite the fact she would be a target by their bishop, has always been the major factor in why I have put some money to that effort.

Heck, Lisa donated her time this Thanksgiving to the Salvation Army feeding people, and if there were anyone to have an axe to grind, it would be her.

Maybe that is the solution--flood the Salvation Army with so many LGBT volunteers they get themselves in a very embarrassing spot!



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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