Remember back on Ground Hogs Day, what a beautiful day it was? I tell myself that I am not one to believe that sun on a particular day foretells a longer winter, but it seems as good a reason as any other for a winter storm at this final week of February.
This is my dear friend Susan, the Kindergarten teacher, in the lunch room with the younger students. If there is a soul on earth who loves more and accepts people where they are at more then Susan does, then I would sure like to meet that person. When I worked full time at the school (now I work from home with the distance-learners/home school) we used to spend time together on the playground, shoulder to shoulder in prayer and wild laughter. Wait... there were also tears, both of joy and of pain. Tears tend to not be bitter when shed with a kindred spirit. I miss that. We were sharing a ride to Bible Study on Wednesday nights, but dang, she had her car back yesterday. Maybe it is time for my car to take a break?
You know how you can read the same passage again and again, find it relevant, but not really be excited about it? That is how I felt about the passage we studied at Pastor Wold's last night. The passage was Luke 2:36-38 and the subject was the prophetess Anna. Following the excitement of Simeon it is easy for me to over look Anna, an old woman who, oddly enough, is a widow living at the temple, apparently making a fuss over a baby. Ya, right. Look closer. In three short verses there is much said about this woman of God.
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, 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.
(from New International Version)
She was a Prophetess. From what Luke has already said about prophets, I believe that she was a rare spirit filled woman in an era when religion for the sake of heritage rather then love and relationship with God ruled the day.
A widow, advanced in years. She had seen much, living in dependence on God as a husband to widows rather then dependent on a man. She had lived to see the Roman takeover of her country. She had watched as her religion and people conformed to foreign occupation in compliance and bloody revolt. She had lived to see the renewal movements of the Pharisees, the Essene's, the Sadducee's. She had watched as Zealots and their bloody way became popular with the hot-blooded young men of the day. In all her days as a widow, she did not go home to the north country of Asher, she remained at the temple in the busy city of Jerusalem, serving and worshipping her God.
So many people, so many different ways of attempting to live as the people of God's Covenant, yet there were apparently only a "remnant" who looked forward to the redemption of Jerusalem, the Messiah, instead of backwards toward the heritage of the people, which happened to include God.
At the very moment that Simeon was speaking to Mary and her husband, the pious Anna came near and (addressing God rather then the parents) began to give thanksgiving and went to others who were like minded in looking for the redemption of Jerusalem to speak of Him.
Her life made me wonder, what am I looking for? How am I serving while I wait? The next big event is the return of Messiah. Am I looking for it? How am I serving God while I wait? When I read the Word, am I encouraged to see the old prophecies coming to pass? Does it ignite me or am I unchanged as I observe history in the making? Anna gave her life to service of God and fellowship with like minded believers without loosing hope because of world events of the day. What will be said of me?