Anna’s Blessing

Luke 2: 36-38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the image of blessing babydaughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

That whispered voice that speaks with deep authority
The voice that speaks to my inner ear, that warms my heart
That sense of the Almighty, shielded sufficiently so that I can bear its coming
That Presence spoke to me today when I arose from my mat.

It called me to a certain portico in the temple
And when I arrived, I saw my old friend Simeon
He, also, had been called to this place by the stirring of the Spirit
Long we had confirmed our own understandings in conversation with each other
Our mutual presence here was such a confirmation.
It’s easier to trust your inner ear, when its message is echoed in another’s eyes.

Simeon saw them first – the new parents, the young infant
His heart rushed forth to meet them –
As if their coming was the consummation of his entire life
And, indeed, it was.
His heart had long held the distilled yearning of all Israel
The yearning for a holy reconciliation.
A yearning for arête

He gathered the child in his arms, and held, at last, the answer to his prayers.
And then he turned and handed me the infant, so I could know it, too.
Indeed when I wrapped the infant in my arms the Holy Spirit wrapped my soul
We were engulfed in a powerful love –
One that is sufficient to do the work required for reconciliation.

I knew at once the price and the blessing
The crucible of history, held in my embrace.
I kissed his head, this tiny one, and my lips burned.
It was, as if my lips were those of God, touching all the earth.
Such was the intersection of eternity in that brief encounter.

Then we returned the infant to his parents
To hold and love and nurture through his childhood’s days
To anchor his soul in the dust of his village and give him space to grow.
Simeon and I watched them depart.

The turning of history filled us with awe … and with deepest joy …
Reminded, once more, of God’s transforming love
It seemed so fragile – that unconquerable grace

Yet, nothing is more sure.

1 24 15

[photo edited from ‘Grandma’s Touch‘ by Kolby per cc 2.0]

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