Timeless wisdom gets Mary and Joseph out of bed and dressed,
packed and out on the road early, walking toward Jerusalem with
their newborn. They are traveling to the temple to obey the ancient
law of Moses which says that this is the day they are to offer sacrifices
to the Lord and present their son to be blessed.
But what could have been a simple story about Mary and Joseph’s faithfulness in checking off a religious requirement becomes a transformative story about their encounter with the lively wisdom of two Spirit-filled people. Our passage focuses on the first: Simeon.
Simeon erupts in worship when he meets them, praising God for
the peace he receives as he sees this child. His response shows Mary
and Joseph that their story is larger than the daily life of their little
nuclear family; it will transform others.
Simeon blesses these scared young parents, not telling them what
to do, but inviting them to open their hearts to the holiness and joy
and heartbreak they will experience as they parent Jesus.
The ancient wisdom that forms our rituals and beckons us to
return to worship again and again may sometimes feel rote, but our
obedience to it can open us to the living wisdom we encounter in the
other people who show up there to do the same.
I thought about that one Sunday as I heard our congregation speak their blessing over young parents and their baby, then share words of encouragement with them after the service. Baby dedications can seem routine, mere obedience to a tradition with a cute built-in photo op. But they can also be moments to discover a blessing in our midst and the wisdom that we need to keep us going.
What practices or traditions connect you with the living wisdom of others? In what places could you offer your wisdom to those who need it?
Holy Spirit, in our most everyday routines and our holiest rituals, interrupt our lives with your blessing and your wisdom. Amen.