Sermon: Good Things Happen to Those Who Wait and Worship
December 30, 2018
Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista, UCC
Rev. Elizabeth Aguilar
Luke 2: 25-38
I have a confession to make. I have preached on Simeon and Anna many times. I just love this scripture reading and I have enjoyed preaching about it, meditating on it for my own spiritual growth.
I wonder, what did YOU notice about this story? What caught your eye about it? For me, I feel as though there is much happening all at once and so there is much we can focus on today! Of course, we cant be here all day so I will focus on a few things which I hope brings you reflection and insight on your own walk of faith.
First of all- notice that both Anna and Simeon are of a certain age bracket. They arent young by any means. Annas age is named, in fact, to be that of 84 years old. Simeon, on the other hand, we are not too sure of his age BUT we can gather he is older as well by the mere fact that we are told he has been waiting for a promise made to him about seeing the Messiah before his death has occurred.
So right away we see that both have this in common. They are older. (I like to say older but wiser, by the way.) But more importantly, they have some other things in common. Namely- they are both very faithful followers of God. They spend their days in the temple it says. Simeon is called righteous. And if you look even closer to scripture (verse 27) it says that he was guided by the Holy Spirit to go into the temple that day, at that time.
Anna is not only worshiping at the temple day in and day out, we are told, but she also fasted and prayed a lot. So we get the picture- these are too older but wiser folks who take their faith, including worship, prayer, fasting seriously! Wow! I want to be like them when Im older!
Notice though that there is yet something else they have in common- after both met Jesus for the first time, what was their reaction? Were they uninterested? Bored? No! With both of them we are told that they praised God and that they both had plenty to (quote) speak about the child.
Lastly, both had their promises made to them come true! What was that promise? That someday they would indeed meet the Messiah and they know that the day has finally come. They must have felt so honored, so blessed, so thrilled!
Now, I am no grand-parent but my mom is and I have certainly met many other grand-parents over the years. And I can tell you that they are pretty darn thrilled when they meet their grand-children for the first time. They are ecstatic! They show off pictures on their phone, they face time with them, they send pictures, they want to hold and kiss and just be with their grand-children as much as possible. Some of you know what Im talking about, right?
Well, imagine now that you are Simeon or Anna- You are not just meeting any baby, and not your grandson of course (which would be thrilling as it is) but you are meeting THE MESSIHIA! The Christ child himself!
Moreover, what you have been promised long before is actually coming true! And here is where I need to pause. Because I think we can learn a few things from Simeon and Anna already.
First- good things happen when we come to worship and put our faith into action by praying, worshiping, and fasting. Our worship time is not in vain, in other words. GOOD things happen when we worship! Many these days believe that they can worship God in nature or perhaps by watching a preacher on television. I think God can speak to us by those means. Of course, so. However, something important happens when we worship with others in corporate worship, together that doesnt when we are alone.
Secondly- unlike our culture and society that praises youthfulness we are reminded that older can really be better! In their older years they are given the gift of meeting the Messiah. They are able to see for themselves that Gods promise for His people and for them as well has come true! And in their older wisdom they know that waiting has not been in vain!
Next- we learn that they in fact, not only get to meet Jesus but they have something important to say about Him to anyone who will listen! Remember, both began to praise Jesus! So, Im taking that as a clue as well that we are meant to praise Jesus; be happy, be joyful, be excited about being in His presence.
Thirdly- they did not give up on their hope that some day their promises would come true. They didnt just wait and do nothing. They spent their time waiting, watching, and hoping that God would come true and God did!
In my years of ministry as a pastor but certainly as a chaplain I have learned that everyone is waiting for something. Some are waiting for a resolution to a problem to come about. Others are waiting for results of medical tests. Some are waiting for their marriage to either get better or for God to let them know its time to walk away. Some folks are waiting and hoping for peace in our world, especially as terrorists threats become not only threats but actuality Some are waiting for healing of physical problems, others healing for emotional problems. . Some are waiting for a new job or for a new room to open at an assisted living facility. The point is that we are all waiting for something.
But, I think HOW we wait is important. How we wait for that Fill in the blank thing to occur matters. Do we wait with expectation and trust? Do we wait with a negative outlook? Do we wait hoping and praying? Or do we wait giving into despair?
How we wait matters Friends, I want to encourage you all to be like Anna and Simeon- they waited by worshiping, by praying, by fasting. They waited in community. They waited in hope and with a positive attitude. And when what you are waiting for comes true- my prayer is that you can share it with others because that is how we encourage one another! We grow in hope about our own situations when we hear how God is working in someone elses life!
I dont know what you are waiting for. But you and God knows. My faith tells me that God will show you a resolution to it in Gods perfect time and perfect way. But in the meantime we are called to wait to hope and trust.