Luke 1 and 2

52 Weeks at the Table – Week 31

Luke’s opening chapter leaves no doubt that the Child foretold in centuries past will be born an extraordinary child. Angels appear. A forerunner is prophesied. A Messiah is promised. The fetal forerunner John leaps in his mother Elizabeth’s womb. Mary sings. Zechariah sings. And in chapter two, all of heaven sings while dazed shepherds keep watch over the innocent, newborn Lamb of God.

But the prophecies are not all kind and fair. When the parents bring their eight-day-old Son to the temple for circumcision, the elderly prophet Simeon seems to sing his praise and prayer for God’s salvation – and for release from this life. He holds the Child and blesses Him and confirms His destiny: to cause the rising and falling of many in Israel … to be a sign spoken against … to reveal the thoughts and hearts of many. And he tells Mary that a sword will pierce her own soul, too. It is a dark revelation, relieved only a moment later when the prophetess Anna begins telling everyone around that this Child would bring the redemption of Jerusalem.

God and Father, You behold past, present and future. You weave them to Your purpose. You create life, give life, restore life. Your promises never fail. So we sing to You our praise of thanksgiving for the redemption of our lives, our bodies … through the Body of Your Son. We cherish Him in this bread, which nourishes body and soul. Amen.

Merciful and Just One; Loving and Righteous God: thank You for giving Your Son, the Only of Your creation to remain innocent as a newborn throughout the span of life. Through His blood, we fallen may rise again. Through His blood, the thoughts of our hearts are revealed. Through His blood, a sword pierces our own souls, too. Through His blood, we find redemption from sin. Through His name, we thank you for this cup: Amen.

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