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A meditation on Luke

You had to be there.

You had to be there,
To see it,
To feel it,
To understand it.

To understand what it meant,
What it means
What this child will mean for our people
After years, decades, generations of waiting
Of watching, and waiting and endless praying

I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been here
How long we’ve all been waiting
Waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise

And then this
And then this revelation by God’s Holy Spirit

That he would come
And that I would witness its fulfillment
The fulfillment of this promise,
This prophecy,
This covenant,
Before I die.

I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been here
Waiting for the consolation of Israel
For good news
For that all encompassing shalom
a sense of home
in this homeless world
Good news not restricted to the elite
(the leaders and the priests)
But good news, real, embodied, transformative good news
for the poor
the hungry
the broken
the hated and excluded

God’s shalom, God’s holistic peace. A peace and a freedom passing all understanding. A peace that cannot – that will not – be bought.
Not for 30 pieces of silver. And not at the cost of more innocent lives.

I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been here
Waiting for the fulfillment
For God’s shalom
When all around, the locusts swarm
The Roman hordes
Centurions and Battalions
Occupying this land
Occupying our hearts and minds
So that we cannot even begin to imagine that another world

That God’s world,
That God’s promised future,
Might, in fact, be possible.

Like I said before, you had to be there.

You had to be there,
To see it,
To feel it,
To understand it.
It was in that moment
That very moment
That it became abundantly clear
That such a world
That such a future is not only possible,
But that such a world is here

There I was, led by God’s spirit
into the temple
into the presence of the holy,
of those parents, poor, fearful and lowly
following the letter of the law
Mary and Joseph,
Too poor to make a sacrifice
Too poor to purchase a year-old lamb,

Yet, there they were.
Mary, and Joseph, a pair of pigeons
A pair of turtledoves,
And this baby
A baby we would later call
The lamb of God

Imagine that.
Mary, Joseph,
a pair of turtledoves,
and the lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world.


You had to be there,
And maybe you find yourself there, with me now,
You see it,
You feel it,
And together, we behold the gravity of this moment.
Holding that months-old baby in your arms
Listening to him coo and gurgle
Learning to smile
And knowing
Somehow knowing that we can rest
In peace.

In the knowledge that peace,
That God’s shalom has been born amongst us
And that this child
This poor, little, innocent, barely smiling child
From the backwoods of Israel
is now and forever our salvation.
A light of revelation
Revealed in the presence of us all
For the redemption of all, everywhere.

They stand there amazed.
Slightly dazed at what’s been said,
What’s been done
In the presence of their son
But how can they be?
How can they be amazed after the journey they’ve made?
To Elizabeth and Zechariah,
And their baby John
From Nazareth and Galilee,
To Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

And where do we find ourselves today?

Do we, too, stand there amazed?
Slightly dazed, or altogether unfazed
By what God has done
In sending us this son
This good news embodied,
this promise fulfilled
When this good news and promise
can taste of a bitter pill

And we know, all too well
that the truth has been revealed.
We know, all too well,
that what has been said is true
This child, destined for the falling and rising of many
This child, a sign that continues to be opposed
Not only in the world that surrounds
But, at times, in the depths of our own souls
Exposing the ambiguity of our innermost thoughts

The glow and sheen of Christmas worn thin,
We seek and struggle to follow
In this new and daring,
Countercultural and self-sacrificing way
Even as we get the first hints that this road will not be easy
And that faithfulness to Jesus
In a world of endless choice and endless options
In a world of broken contracts and unkept promises
Will take all that we’ve got
All this community’s got

This child born amongst us
Is the child of promise
The child of covenant

And even though we don’t know the road ahead
Even though we don’t have all the answers

We, like Simeon, can respond,
Declaring that we are in it for the long haul
Come hell or high water
For Better or for Worse
Knowing that through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ
We are witnesses to God’s salvation

And can go now depart in peace.
Thanks be to God.