Dear St. Luke’s,
“Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace: your word has been fulfilled. My own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all people…” (Luke 2:31)
The past year of our life together has been full of struggle and hope. Many of us suffered loss, experienced significant transition, or celebrated new joys in 2019. When we showed up to worship on Sunday mornings, we carried with us not only our own complex stories, but also the concerns of the communities we live in, and the groaning of the whole creation in longing for the healing and freedom of God.
As your pastor, I have had the deep privilege of witnessing your deep faith through it all. You showed up for community even on days when it would have been easier to stay home. You shared your struggle instead of trying to go it alone. You sang loudly, and prayed fiercely, and marched through the streets despite the cold and snow. God’s radical love shone forth in your persistent hope for the future.
On the day of our annual meeting we will hear the story of Anna and Simeon (Luke 2:22-40), two elders who had been praying and waiting their whole lives for the redemption of their people. When Simeon saw the child Jesus, he broke into song: Your word has been fulfilled! Finally, with my own eyes, I have seen God’s salvation!
It’s a mysterious thing, this gospel that we proclaim. Even while we know firsthand that our lives and our world are still waiting for the fullness of God’s justice and joy, yet we gather every week to celebrate that the salvation we have been waiting for—is here. Just as the Christ child came to Simeon and Anna, so Christ is present for us; we don’t have to wait any longer. Whenever God’s word is proclaimed; when God’s love comes to us in water, bread, and wine; when peace breaks through despair—we have already seen the salvation that God promised. It is here. Now. This.
As we look ahead to the future of our ministry in 2020, I invite you to dwell in Simeon’s song. Practice trusting that God’s word is fulfilled. Notice the times when salvation is made real to you. Go in freedom and peace into the world that God loves, and see what happens.
Always giving thanks to God for you,