Sermon Recording – Looking Forward (Luke 2.22-38)

looking forward

Message: Looking Forward
Scriptures: Luke 2:22-38
Offered 1/7/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

How do we stay looking forward, especially when the pull to the past is so strong? How do we look forward when we’re feeling stuck in our present reality? How do we run the race of faith with perseverance and finish well? How do we stay open, expectant and eager for God’s next step for us?

We duly celebrated at his birth… with the star we ran, with the magi we worshiped, with the shepherds we were enlightened, with the angels we glorified him, with Simeon we took him up in our arms, and with the chaste and aged Anna we made our responsive confession. – Gregory of Nazianzus

Who are Simeon and Anna? We meet them between Jesus’ birth and the arrival of the Wise Ones. Jesus is about 6 weeks old. Mary and Joseph bring him to Jerusalem for the traditional sacrifices/rituals associated with the birth of a firstborn son and the purification of a new mother. While there, the family encounters two senior citizens, let’s call them seasoned saints. They’re Biblical models of persevering faith and looking forward. Their trust in God and attention to spiritual practices kept them open, expectant, and longing for the promised Messiah.

Anna and Simeon
1. Are Righteous and Devout
Righteous = Right relationship with God, others, themselves, earth. They live a cross-shaped life long before the cross. Righteous describes their being.

Devout = Devoted. This describes their doing. They are intentional about staying open to the presence of God. You prioritize what you’re devoted to. What are you devoted to? If you want to know just check your calendar and your checkbook.

Martin Luther put it this way, “Show me where a man spends his time & money, and I’ll show you his god.”

Persevering/Long-Haul faith doesn’t just happen. It takes intentionality and consistency, like preparing for the Olympics. Consistent spiritual practices keep us open to God’s presence, strengthen our resolve, keep us looking forward.
Anna and Simeon are looking for God and looking forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises.

2. The Holy Spirit rests on them
This is a result of their faith and practices. It’s so clear it’s repeated three times in the passage. (verses 25-27)

What spiritual practices are you using to stay open to God’s presence, so the Holy Spirit will rest on you? (prayer, scripture reading, fasting, Sabbath, tithing, serving, etc.) These practices are timeless. They’re the same practices used by Anna and Simeon.

3. Looking forward
As a result of their faith and practices, Anna and Simeon anticipate and expect God to move and act. They have tremendous faith and trust in God. They have perspective, keeping a right proportion between looking forward and looking back like a car’s windshield and rearview mirror.

4. Looking forward to the consolation of Israel
Anna and Simeon move beyond “what’s in it for me” faith to a bigger picture. Me to We. (Again consider a car’s windshield) They’ve embraced the very heart of God, that the Messiah would bring salvation for all people. This helps them to finish well.

Simeons’s Song, Luke 2:29-32
Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.

All of this is available for us as well.

Prayer
Holy Spirit, as you rested on Simeon and Anna, so rest on me
Keep me expectant and open to your appearing
Make me a model of your compassion and wisdom
Make me a sign of your persevering grace and transforming power

Holy Spirit, rest on me
Keep my eyes clear, open, looking forward
Fill me with anticipation of you fulfilling your promises
Keep me trusting in your goodness and victory for the world

Save me from despair and falsehood
Grant me true perspective and faith
Keep me looking forward
Not just for myself, but for the greater good, for all
Take me beyond me to the fullness of your heart and plan
For you prepare salvation for all people,
The Jews and the Gentiles
The insiders and the outsiders
We all need you and we can all be saved. Hallelujah!

Holy Spirit touch me
Cleanse me
Enlighten me
Fill me
Strengthen me
Reveal to me
Rest on me
Amen

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9am Sundays, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Prayer: Rest on Me (Luke 2.22-40)

old hands baby hands

When Jesus is just a few weeks old, Mary and Joseph bring him to Jerusalem for the traditional sacrifices and rituals associated with the arrival of a firstborn son. While there, the family encounters two seasoned saints. Their persevering faith kept them open, expectant, and longing for the promised Messiah. Their names are Simeon and Anna.

This prayer is based on Simeon’s Prayer from Luke 2:22-40

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;
this man was righteous and devout,
looking forward to the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
– Luke 2:25

Prayer: Rest on Me
Holy Spirit,
as you rested on Simeon and Anna,
so rest on me
Keep me expectant and open to your appearing
Fill my speech with stories of your praise and glory

Holy Spirit,
You reveal salvation to every person
reveal it again to me
Shine your light on every motivation,
on every hidden thing
Pierce my soul
so nothing I say or do opposes you

Holy Spirit,
as you guided so many that first Nativity,
so guide me
Continue to point me forward
eyes open, steady and true
Lead me to a faithful end,
so I may rest in peace forever with you
with others
and with my true self

I trust and pray in the name of the Promised One
Jesus Christ
my Savior and Savior of the World
Amen

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Prayer: Rest on Me © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please leave a common for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

 

Open My Lips- a prayer based on 1 John 1

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Jesus
Light of Life, Light of Healing
Light of Relationship and Saving Love

Open my lips as you open my eyes
Open my lips as you open my ears
Open my lips to declare your praise
Your power
Your welcome
Your hope

Open my lips in all seasons
in all circumstances

You reveal, I receive
New life is born

You reveal, I reveal
Your Kingdom comes
Your family increases
as does the joy

Open my lips

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Open My Lips by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2016
You are welcome to use this in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.

Prayer: All Will Be Revealed

Nothing is hidden that won't be revealed 2Prayer: All Will be Revealed
ONE:
Timeless One, give us wisdom
to know when to wait and when to act
to know what to pick up and what to leave behind

ALL:
Holy One, give us faith
to stand, trusting all will be revealed
to bow, knowing all will be revealed

ONE:
The hidden will be brought to light
hidden actions of our hands
hidden motives of our hearts
hidden words, hidden thoughts

ALL
Holy Spirit, shine the light of Your love
On all I would rather leave in darkness
Draw out, hold and heal
All I would rather leave untouched

You are near with power to save
Enter the very center of my being
Raise me to new life in Jesus Christ.
Amen.

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Prayer: All Will Be Revealed © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Three short prayers for the new year

Approaching the wave, by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

We seek your truth
Your love
Your healing
You
You will be found
Hallelujah!

Meeting the wave, by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Open my being
to share who I am in you
to receive who they are in you
to rejoice in who we are in you

Welcoming the wave, photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Welcoming the wave, by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

For the blessings of today
which remind us of the
blessings of the past
which point forward to the
blessings still to come
we give you thanks

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Three short prayers for the New Year © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use these prayers in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish them in any form.

Wave series of photographs © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish these in any form.

Prayer: Rest on Me (Luke 2:22-38)

old hands baby hands2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Day 23 Reading: Luke 2:22-38
Simeon and Anna

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;
this man was righteous and devout,
looking forward to the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
– Luke 2:25

Prayer: Rest on Me
Holy Spirit,
as you rested on Simeon and Anna,
so rest on me
Keep me expectant and open to your appearing
Fill my speech with stories of your praise and glory

Holy Spirit,
You reveal salvation to every person
reveal it again to me
Shine your light on every motivation,
on every hidden thing
Pierce my soul
so nothing I say or do opposes you

Holy Spirit,
as you guided so many that first Nativity,
so guide me
Continue to point me forward
eyes open, steady and true
Lead me to a faithful end,
so I may rest in peace forever with you
with others
and with my true self

I trust and pray in the name of the Promised One
Jesus Christ
my Savior and Savior of the World
Amen

***********
This post is part of the 2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas. Click here for more information, including a list of all the readings.

Prayer: Rest on Me © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art and the use of this post in other settings,
please leave a comment.

Worship Resource: Eyes Open

Christ Icon by Nikola Mihaylov via Wikimedia Commons.

Christ Icon by Nikola Mihaylov via Wikimedia Commons.

Faith is trusting what the eye can’t see.
Eyes see the prowling lion. Faith sees Daniel’s angel.
Eyes see storms. Faith sees Noah’s rainbow.
Eyes see giants. Faith sees Canaan.

Your eyes see your faults. Your faith sees your Savior.
Your eyes see your guilt. Your faith sees his blood.
Your eyes look in the mirror and see a sinner, a failure, a promise-breaker.
But by faith you look in the mirror and see a robed prodigal
bearing the ring of grace on your finger and the kiss of your Father on your face.
– Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name

Hebrews 11:1 NRSV
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

The following worship resource was inspired by a devotion entitled Eyes Open by Steve Garnaas-Holmes and is adapted and published here with his gracious permission. I have found Steve’s work consistently beautiful, thoughtful and prayerful and look forward to worshipping alongside him through his daily posts on his blog, Unfolding Light. Consider this an enthusiastic recommendation to join me as a subscriber.
– Lisa <><

Worship Resource: Eyes Open
ONE:
On the road to Emmaus,
their eyes were kept from recognizing the Risen Christ.

ALL:
Open my inner eye to see your presence.

ONE:
Thinking the Risen Christ to be the gardener,
Mary Magdalene asked, “Where have you taken him?”

ALL:
Help me see you in all people.

ONE:
The Risen Christ stood on the beach in the morning light,
but the heartbroken fishermen did not know it was him.

ALL:
Help me trust in your presence,
even when I do not feel it.

ONE
Weary and guilt-ridden, Jacob realized,
“Truly, God was in this place and I,
I did not know it.”

ALL:
You have walked with me
even when I did not know it.
Grant me gratitude and trust.
May I ever wonder at your presence
and walk in faith. Amen.

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Eyes Open © 2014 Steve Garnaas-Holmes
adapted by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Steve and Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.