Saturday, August 31, 2013

Baptismal Imagery in Narnia: A Presentation

Below I've posted the slides from my presentation from this year's Higher Things Conference: From Above. Since the over all theme of the conferences was on our birth from above in Baptism (John 3), I thought it would be a good opportunity to do something I'd always wanted to take a closer look at, namely, Baptismal imagery in the Chronicles of Narnia. This presentation certainly does not exhaust the discussion or research on this topic, but it was a joy to put a lot of thoughts into an outline and presentation format. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dinner for Schmucks, Pharisees, and Sinners

And now for something completely different. Dinner for Schmucks and Luke 14.

Sermon illustrations that point you to Christ in the text can be helpful. Illustrations that take lead you down any number of different rabbit trails away from Christ, or distract the hearer from Christ. Which is why I've chosen to share a brief example from my own cutting room floor for this week's sermon. In reading and re-reading the Luke 14:1-14 (at least in the 3 year lectionary...this text also is in the historic one-year lectionary on Trinity 17, by the way), that Jesus' entire encounter with the Pharisees on this particular Sabbath day reminded me of a Steve Carrel movie, Dinner for Schmucks. It's a bit of an odd connection and takes a bit of explanation. Not to mention most people haven't seen the movie. All of those reasons led to this deleted scene appearing here.

The basic premise of the movie goes like this. Top executives and CEO's - the who's who of town - get together for an occasional dinner. Each of them is required to bring a schmuck (using the newer form of the term, idiot or fool, as in Monty Python's village idiot sketches) to dinner. And the prize goes to the one with the most eccentric, eclectic form of schmuckery on display that evening. Paul Rudd plays a rising star type business man attempting to make his way in this rat race of the rich and famous. In order to impress the cool kids he invites Steve Carrel. To cut to the chase and the spoiler alerts, Paul Rudd's character ends up befriending Steve Carrel's character. And in the end, though the entire point of the dinner, at least from the rich folks' perspective, was to revel in the foolishness of others, they ended up being the real schmucks.

And that's the point of connection (at least in my mind) between Luke 14 and this rather unlikely source of a modern day illustration. The Pharisees in Luke 14 (as they do elsewhere) invited Jesus to dinner. This is no coincidence. But beware of Pharisees bearing gifts...and dinner invitations. As Luke narrates, they were watching Jesus carefully. Probably closer and more carefully than the NSA is watching you read this on Facebook or Blogger right now. No doubt, they were parsing every word off his tongue, twitch of his hand, and flicker of his eye - all in order to ensnare him. Admiral Ackbar would've warned Jesus, "It's a trap."

Here's the amazing thing about Jesus; he took the bait. He's not afraid of death. And he's not afraid of a little public humiliation. He goes to this Pharisee dinner party for schmucks precisely because he cares about the Pharisees. Although they invite him in order to mock him, or catch him breaking one of their 39 Sabbath Day laws, or to pile up more evidence which they can use against him, they end up the biggest schmucks. 

Three times Jesus upsets not just their entire social system, but their entire way of relating to one another and to God. The first course dealt with healing and the Sabbath Laws themselves. The second course was directed at the guests. And the final course is served up to the host himself.

Why does Jesus systematically work his way from the kitchen to the guests and finally the host? Well, their social system - who sits where and does what and eats this or that - was built on their theology. Doctrine and practice really do go together. Good theology - good practice (Lord willing and with a lot of work; it's not easy being Lutheran). Bad theology leads to bad practice (sadly this is all to easy). And so forth.

So, you can tell a lot about someone or someones congregation by how they behave around the table. Jesus isn't interested in table etiquette in the way of old Adam's religious sensibilities. But he is deeply interested in table etiquette in the way of the Gospel. And it's not by merits, wealth, popularity, or any such thing. It's all about how fools and sinful schmucks like us get a dinner invitation even though we didn't deserve it. You claim any merit or exaltation on your own part and you will be humbled. But if you are humbled by Jesus' words, you'll find an open chair and a gracious invitation: Friend, move up higher.

Jesus words about humility and exaltation are words of great warning and judgment against our Pharisaical old nature. But they are also words of great comfort for us. Christ's words of condemnation humble us. They put us to death. And Christ happens to be an expert in that area, raising people from the dead. He does for you what he did for Lazarus. Arise. Wake up. In Christ's death and resurrection you are no longer a Pharisee or a schmuck or a dead, rotten sinner. In Christ's humility, you are exalted for he was humbled and put to death in your sin. All of your sinful Pharisee ways were nailed to the cross. So, let the feasting commence. Eat, drink, and be merry for your sins - though they were many - are forgiven.

Jesus took the lowest seat in order to give you the honored seat at the best meal in town. Here in the Lord's Supper he who is highly exalted humbles himself in bread and wine in order bring your sinful humiliation to an end and bring you everlasting exaltation in the forgiveness of sins. The dinner invitation has gone out. The wedding feast is prepared. The banquet is served. Jesus dines with sinners once again. Take and eat; this is Christ's body. Take and drink; this is Christ's blood.  Friend, move up higher.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lutheran Youth in Their Own Words

Here are a few of the highlights from the youth at Redeemer Lutheran regarding their trip this July to Tacoma, WA for the Higher Things conference, From Above. All too often adults like to put words in the mouths of our youth, especially in the church. I paid them no money. Bribed them with no food.  I simply asked them to tell me what they enjoyed about this year's conference. It was that easy. So, here are a few Lutheran youth in their own words, telling us what made an impression on them at this year's Higher Things conference. Once again, I'm convinced they are teaching us how to dare to be Lutheran as much as we are teaching them.

  1. Meeting new people.
  2. Nice campus.
  3. The sermons.
  4. The breakaway sessions.
  5. Hanging out with everyone from the youth group.
  6. Going to the Space Needle.
  7. Going to Basking Robbins.
  8. Hanging out with downtown Dan!
  9. The food.
  1. The breakout session on homosexuality.
  2. Seattle Space Needle.
  3. Getting ice cream.
  4. The cafeteria food.
  5. Pastor Ledic’s breakout session.
  6. Late night McDonald’s trip.
  7. Pastor Sam’s sermon.
  8. Starbucks trip.
  9. Writing with chalk.
  10. Being with friends from church.
  1. Hearing “That there is no sin that isn’t forgiven.”
  2. King David lived an interesting Lego life (breakout session).
  3. Food and campus were good.
  4. The plane ride was fun.
  5. The worship services were quick and meaningful.
  6. Learned that “There were plenty of movies that have Christ-figures.”
  7. There was a lot of free time for activities.
  8. The rental car was nice and roomy.
  9. The trip downtown Seattle was really fun.
  10. All of the pastors were good, funny, and were interesting to listen to.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lutheranism In, Lutherans Out: Reflections on Higher Things “From Above” Conference

“At the risk of sounding quite insolently obvious, I shall say that if the Church is to make any impression on the modern mind she will have to preach Christ and the cross.”
– Dorothy Sayers[1]

The same could be said of making lasting impressions on the youth of the church, especially when it comes to contending for and delivering the Christian faith (Jude 3). The word Lutherans use for this is catechesis. Now, by catechesis we must mean a lifetime of receiving the Word of God, participating in the sacramental life of the church, and believing, teaching, and confessing – not leave the catechism, Scriptures, and hymnal behind once you’ve hit made your confirmation vows. At its best, Lutheran catechesis centers on Christ crucified throughout our entire lives.  Quite simply, this is what our youth need. More historic Lutheran teaching. More discussion and studies on current topics from a Christian worldview. More apologetics for the defense of their faith. More worship that points them to Christ and not themselves or the latest pop-Christian entertainment fads. In other words, our youth need what we all need: More 200 proof Lutheran doctrine and practice. More Word. More Sacraments. More Jesus.

It’s simple really. You put good Lutheran teaching, worship, and throw in some fun activities – and you get good Lutherans out. Good Lutheranism in, good Lutherans out. To be sure, some of our young men will be pastors and some of our young women will be deaconesses and they will all go on to serve in various vocations. But the youth are not the future of the church. They are the church, right now, already. From the moment they were baptized and marked with the cross and the water they were members of the body of Christ. 

And this is why the youth board and pastors here at Redeemer have made going to Higher Things conferences in the summer (not to mention using their resources during the year) the highest priority for our youth. Higher Things youth organization provides the best in Lutheran teaching, worship, and fun for our youth and adults alike. Through conferences, daily devotions, online videos, Facebook, radio, and so much more, Higher Things is giving our youth a faith that they can grow into, not out of. And that’s what we spend our time doing here at Redeemer whether it’s in Sunday School, preschool, adult Bible studies or with our youth.  Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). 

Over the past several decades protestant churches throughout the United States have been learning this the hard way. Studies have been done. Surveys conducted. Data has been re-studied and re-researched to the point of exasperating redundancy. Everyone agrees that youth and college students are leaving the church in large numbers. The problem, however, isn’t in the diagnosis, it’s in the treatment. The youth are leaving the church not because of too much Christian doctrine but too little. They are leaving not because of too much liturgy and good hymns, but too little. They are leaving not because the church is uncool but because it is too cool, too friendly with the world. If the church becomes too much like the world, why should our youth – or anyone for that matter - come to church? What’s the difference between going to the club on Saturday night and the rock band on Sunday morning? Honestly, not much and the club is probably more fun (and better music). If faith is a house, we’ve built them a house of straw and sticks. No wonder that when they get to the later years of high school or college that the big bad wolf of skepticism, atheism, and all sorts of other “isms” blows their house down. The church growth methods and trend setting ways of popular Christianity have been tried and found wanting and they have failed our youth. Too many youth are leaving the church not because they are overstuffed on good Christian substance, but because they are starving, or worse yet, the church has fed them a steady diet of sugar-fied Christianity which turns out to be a fantastic gateway drug to unbelief or, at the very least, an early exit out the back door.

No doubt you’ve heard the old cliché: You are what you eat. To an extent that’s true. The food and drink we put into our bodies affects our weight, cholesterol, metabolism, and so forth. The same is true for the Christian faith: you are what you worship and teach. The Christian teaching we receive, the spiritual food and drink we partake of, and the worship we are involved in all affects our spiritual diet and well being.
That’s why false teaching and self-centered worship are bad for your spiritual health; these things are also poisonous to our youth and it’s everywhere in our culture and sadly in our churches. Thankfully, there are good ingredients for our youth and families today. We don’t need to settle for the McJesus of fast food Christianity: Have it your way! Thank God for Higher Things and this year’s From Above conference, where we were reminded daily that we are God’s children, born from above in Baptism and fed by Christ’s Word and Supper.

This why the youth and adult chaperones spent four days in Tacoma, Washington at a youth conference this summer. Our youth are important members of the body of Christ. They need to be fed and nourished just like our other members, with the same wholesome word and sacraments we all need. At this year’s From Above conference that’s exactly what they received. The youth attended 14 worship services in 4 days, 4 plenary (meaning full) sessions and at least 7 breakout sessions on individual topics of their choosing. And here’s the best part of it all: they loved it. They ate it up. They wanted more and were actually disappointed we had to leave a little early to get to the airport. 

But don’t just take my word for it. I encourage you to check out the pictures in the newsletter and the youth’s highlight list printed below. Those are their words, not mine. 

At Higher Things From Above our youth - along with 450 other Lutheran youth - received exactly what they as Lutheran youth (and all of us alike) need: solid Lutheran worship; faithful teaching; and a whole lot of fun.

Teaching. Everyone knows this is an essential part of the Christian life. And it’s a key part of the conferences at Higher Things. The topics range anywhere from homosexuality to dating, marriage and family or from Christ in the movies to telling Old Testament stories using Legos. Each day the youth got to pick from several options at several times for these breakout sessions. It is a joy to see our youth hunger for and rejoice in good solid teaching. We don’t need to dumb it down for them. They’re not dumb kids. They are extremely intelligent. Take the time to explain complex words and ideas. They’ll appreciate it and thank you for it. Take them seriously. They have serious questions. And as Lutherans we have the best answers around. We have all the right tools and resources: the Scriptures, the Catechism, and the hymnal. Combine that with a thoroughly Lutheran apologetics and you’ve got a great recipe. Put good Lutheran teaching in and you get good Lutherans out.

Worship. We used the hymnal for every service. Over 450 youth sang hymns that would make many lifelong Lutherans shake in their pews. They spent 4 days doing things all the so-called experts say they shouldn’t be doing. Guess what? Our youth love the liturgy. They love the treasures of the church in hymn and song that have been passed down for hundreds and even thousands of years. They love the gifts given to them in the liturgy: Christ’s Word, Christ’s body, Christ’s blood, Christ’s absolution. They even listened to the sermons and remembered those days later when we talked about it over dinner. You put good Lutheran worship in, and you get good Lutherans out, out singing in the parking lot, out singing in the car, out telling their friends about the riches of Christ’s gift in hymn and song at church and at youth.

Fun. What would a youth conference be without fun? We had plenty of it. From the moment (even if it was at 5 AM) we met at the airport to the moment we picked up Clifford the Big Red Suburban and arrived on campus at Pacific Lutheran University, we were all having fun, despite being tired! In fact the whole week was one exhaustingly joyous day after another. But it was that good kind of tired after a satisfying bike ride or workout. That’s a fitting way to describe Higher Things: a solid Lutheran workout. You are what you eat, worship, and teach. The fun extended from the city heights of Seattle’s Space Needle down to the simple things like making new friends and going to Baskin Robbins. Redeemer’s youth have fun wherever they go. That’s just who they are. They had fun. I had fun. And I’d go with them to a Higher Things conference any day. 

Our youth are a joy and a delight. You really should try spending some time with them. I pray you find time to interact with them and find this out for yourselves. Of course, there is a great deal we can do to support them and train them up as they dare to be Lutheran. But one of the best things that Higher Things From Above taught me is that our Lutheran youth have just as much to teach us about daring to be Lutheran. Because when you put good Lutheran stuff in, you get good Lutherans out.

[1] Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos? Letters to a Diminished Church. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2004, p. 60.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sermon for Pentecost 13: "The Cross, the Great Divide"

+ 13th Sunday after Pentecost – August 18th, 2013 +
Redeemer Lutheran, HB
Series C, Proper 15: Jeremiah 23:16-29; Hebrews 11:17-31; Luke 12:49-56

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 We’re used to the usual household divisions: Star Wars or Star Trek. American or National League. Pepperoni or Pineapple pizza. Country or Rock. 8 or 11 service. Or here in Southern California: USC or UCLA.

But Jesus’ words here sound altogether more serious than that.
A baptism by fire? Not peace, but divisions? What’s he talking about? It all sounds so un-Jesus like. This isn’t just one of Jesus’ hard sayings. It sounds contradictory. How can Jesus be the Prince of Peace and say, “I’ve not come to bring peace on earth but division?”

All our questions about the second half of this reading – peace and division – can be answered by looking closer at the first half – fire and baptism.
We must remember that what Jesus says in today’s Gospel he says on the way to the cross. If we lose sight of Jesus’ cross we’ve already lost the point of today’s readings. Fire and Baptism, Peace and Division – it all hangs on the cross.

And the closer Jesus gets to Jerusalem, the more tension grows, conflict and rejection increases, and the Pharisees get more and more anxious to kill him.
Jesus is anxious too… 

“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled. I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!
Jesus’ love for you consumes him. He longs to finish, accomplish, and complete his saving work for you. Jesus gives you a glimpse of the shuddering agony of Gethsemane. Jesus knows what it will cost, and he goes toward it. He goes on for you, bearing your sin, what wondrous love. “Who for the joy set before him endured the cross scorning its shame…”

“The hell coming to you for your sin He goes to, bearing your sin. He is forsaken by God in your place, and the fire of hell does not destroy him. Instead of that fire for you he kindles another. Hidden under the hard wood of the cross, the fire is kindled. From the ashes of Calvary, Jesus’ risen body has the light of Easter, and the fire is given out at Pentecost to burn in his witnesses.” (Norman Nagel)  Fire and Baptism and the cross.
Jesus’ ministry ends the same way it began - baptism. In the Jordan, a watery baptism, an anointing for death. It was a baptism for sinners. Jesus stood in solidarity with us. Now on the cross Jesus atones for our sin by a bloody baptism. Jesus is baptized in our judgment, sin, and death.

Baptism bookends his life and work, from the Jordan to Jerusalem. The cross is the great divide.
At Jesus’ baptism and his death - the cross is the great divide of your sin. Recall the old catechism definition of sin: our sin separates us from God. Sin divides. Sin cuts off. To depart from God is to die forever.

So when Jesus takes over your sin he takes over your death. His baptism put him to our death so that in his death we receive life in Baptism. His death ends the divide between God the Father and us his children. The cross is the great divide.
But the Christ’s cross brings another kind of division.

For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three.

 Jesus taught his disciples about the division that would take place as a result of his death and resurrection.  The cross brings division, offense, and scandal.

Jesus also teaches us. For we also know about division. In the world, in our lives, in the church on earth – differences on what churches teach about the Lord’s Supper, on the form and content of worship; on being faithful to Christ in doctrine and mission. These are not idle or unimportant divisions (1 Cor. 11:19).
Today, in the 21st century, Christ’s church lives and ministers the Gospel in a time that parallels the 1st century. Rampant paganism. Hostility and antagonism towards the Church. Christ crucified is hated and mocked as foolish or mythical. Increased opposition to God’s gift of family, marriage, and sexuality. Persecution. Martyrdom. Division.

We may be tempted to call down fire and judgment on society. But just as in the days of Noah, God’s patience and long suffering remain. He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. God is patient that more might come to repentance and faith in Christ.
And that’s how we live in these Last Days. Eternal judgment is God’s job (thankfully) – and the world has already been judged on the cross. That’s where we point people - to the cross. Judgment poured out for you. Atonement made for you. We live not in fear of eternal judgment but by faith in Christ. Your life is not found in the Law, but in the Gospel, not in yourself, but in Christ Crucified.

Christ Crucified is the great divide. There’s no neutrality when it comes to Jesus. There is faith or unbelief – like the Pharisees. Trust or rejection. That’s why we struggle and wrestle daily – why we are in an all out war with ourselves – between our old unbelieving Adam and our new having-faith-in-Christ-nature. We live the same way Abraham and the saints of old lived – by faith in Christ Crucified. That’s really just another way of saying Christ’s life is your life. Christ lived for you, died for you, rose for you and now in baptism lives in you.
Of course, living this way – by the Gospel, receiving the sacraments and studying the Scriptures –will cause division in your life if it hasn’t already. Mormons and Muslims who come to faith in Christ already know this. Last week, more than 50 churches in Egypt burned because of this reality. 

Jesus teaches us about the division – the kind that happens among his people precisely because of his cross, as a direct result of his teaching. Our Christian lives will reflect that to one degree or another. Jesus’ words of division strike a chord with us. Maybe it’s that friend at school or a co-worker who won’t look at you when you walk by or ignores your phone calls or emails…they don’t say why but you know it’s because you’re a Christian; you don’t flaunt it, but you don’t hide it either.
Even our families are divided. Division over who can commune at Lutheran altars or not. Division over whether or not our children or grandchildren should be baptized and taught the Christian faith. Division over worldviews. We all know someone who doesn’t believe in Christ – or is even hostile in their atheism. Divisions even come on social issues: marriage or abortion and a host of other things we wrestle with daily.

These divisions and struggles are real. They come as a result of the Gospel. All the more reason to know that good theology is the most practical thing you can have (Rod Rosenbladt).
All of this may cause you anxiety. Worry. Despair. Fear. Frustration. But take heart. Do not be afraid. You are not alone.

You’re a member of Christ’s body, the church, as much as your hands and legs and feet are a part of your body. You’re united by Christ in baptism. Share these struggles with the Church. Let your brothers and sisters in Christ bear your burdens with you.
You’ve Pastors who will visit with you, pray with you and for you, read the Scriptures and study Lutheran confessions together with you, administer the sacraments for you.

Whatever the division is in your life, you’re not alone. Christ knows each and every one of your struggles. He endured and lived them all for you. Consider him who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you may not grow weary. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  
Christ is with you and for you. You’re not alone. He prays for us. And we pray for others, for open ears and opportunities to open the Scriptures and proclaim the Gospel to those with whom we’re in conflict. Look for ways to speak the truth in love about why Redeemer strives to be faithful to Christ’s Word and Sacraments; or about why Baptism is the best gift we can give our children, about why we can believe that Jesus was dead and raised based on trustworthy historical evidence, or about why we support and encourage family, marriage, and life according to God’s gift and design.

Yet we do this with gentleness and humility counting others more significant than ourselves.  For you know things that make for peace – Jesus’ Supper, baptism, absolution. Jesus’ Words. And so, you have an opportunity in your vocations – wherever God has placed you – to speak a word, not of division, but of peace.  The same peace you receive here.

For we who suffer these divisions – and we all do in some way – whether at home, school, work or church – Jesus brings words of peace to you. Jesus is united with you in peace – the same peace he speaks as he feeds you with his body and blood. His peace that unites you with his death and resurrection in Baptism. Peace that kindles the work of the Holy Spirit in each of you.

Christ is with each of you in your divisions. For he has made all of your divisions his own in his death. You are at peace in the great divide of his cross. And you will never be divided from him.
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

St. Mary, the Sword, and the Stone

Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  - Luke 2

Now there's a greeting card for you. Congratulations. It's a boy! And a soul will pierce your own soul also. So said Simeon to Mary. Today is the day the Christian Church commemorates St. Mary, the Mother of God, the God-bearer, Theotokos. But Mary would not have us spend the day reflecting on her, but on her Son. And is it so happens, this week's Gospel reading for the three year lectionary also includes talk of a sword, or at least a division (Matthew of course is the one who uses the word, sword). 

“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!  I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

We know this sword - this dividing point - that Jesus speaks of. It is the same sword that Simeon foretold back in Luke 2. The cross looms large over Christmas just as it did throughout Jesus' ministry. Perhaps the only thing more painful for Mary than watching her beloved Son crucified was knowing that she could do nothing to help him. Nothing to take away his pain and agony. Nothing to sooth and calm the child she once comforted in her arms and at her bosom. She was helpless.  A lot like the rest of us. And so it is that by the tip of this sword, the cross, her soul was pierced. But in that piercing - in that excruciating pain and suffering, in that hell - Her Son was taking away the very pain she felt. He was dying for her pierced soul even as His arms and feet and head were pierced with her sins...and ours. He became our helplessness and our pain, our sin and our death.

Christ's cross is the great divide. It pierces Mary's soul...but also ours. It is a sharp two-edged sword that divides our sin from us. The cross is also the sword in the stone, withdrawn as death is hewn. Christ pierces death and hell from the inside, cuts his way through the earth and hallows the eighth day for all who are likewise cut off from their sin in Baptism and bound in his death and resurrection. In a greater exodus, the waters part and divide leaving our sin to drown as Christ ferries us to everlasting life across death's raging flood, all by blood and water and the Spirit.

Christ's cross continues to divide: families, people, churches, nations - over fifty Christian churches are smoldering in Egypt because of this sword. Let this world's tyrant rage - battle we'll engage. Christ holds the field victorious...forever. For this sword of the cross is also our salvation just as it was for Mary. And now we too are God-bearers - bearing his divine Name in Baptism, bearing the divine inheritance won for Christ's saints, and bearing the title son. God's own child, I gladly say it; I am baptized into Christ. 

Give thanks today for St. Mary and all the more, give thanks for her Son, who is flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. For just as Eve was taken out of Adam's side, so too, this man has come forth from a woman and made us His holy bride by opening his side, riven for our salvation. 

Today we join St. Mary in treasuring up these things and pondering them in our hearts, minds, and mouths, even as we join in Simeon's song.

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”