The Faithful Ones
The Faithful Ones
As we close out the calendar year our gospel passage takes us to the temple in Jerusalem, where in accordance with tradition Jesus was presented at the temple. During this encounter two faithful individuals encounter the holy family. How does their presence inform our own journey of faith?
Scripture: Luke 2: 22-40
Simeon and Anna. These two individuals get a brief mention in Luke’s gospel, but their presence speaks volumes. They are the stalwarts of the congregation. The individuals who are faithfully there week in and week out. We all know such individuals. We can think of who they might be within our own congregation. We know who they are from the church when we were growing up.
These are individuals who had an impact on our faith journey, who demonstrated what it means to be a faithful servant. I can remember attending Sunday School as a kid and finally making it to grade seven. In grade seven you went to Mr. Bell’s class for two years before you got to join the youth group. Mr. Bell was a retired Toronto police officer, he was a big man, but he was gentle. His class wasn’t about memorizing bible verses, learning songs or even examining scripture to find deeper meaning. I didn’t know it then, but Mr. Bell’s class was the first time I ever got to practice thinking theologically. That is thinking about what I believe and how it impacted the actions I took daily. Mr. Bell’s class was an open invitation to learn. He was an elder in the congregation and an individual who impacted my faith greatly.
There are others that I could name, each of them impacting and influencing my walk of faith in a tangible way. I am sure you have the individuals that have influenced your walk of faith in a similar fashion. It’s not that these individuals are the pillars of a congregation, rather they are the pillars of our own faith journey. The story of Simeon and Anna tells us that they have always been present, and I believe that the church will always need these individuals. They help us tell the story, they demonstrate faithfulness in a way we can reach out and touch because they have had an impact on us.
Outside of our immediate circumstances we can name and point towards those individuals within the wider Christian community who have had an impact. Martin Luther King Jr, Desmond Tutu, Henri Nouwen, Mother Theresa. Each of these are among the Christian leader who have demonstrated to me what the heart of God looks like. Martin Luther and Desmond Tutu demonstrate what God’s justice in action can look like. Henri Nouwen and Mother Theresa embody the gentle servant who cares for the least of these within society.
There are countless others who have influenced us along the way. This is what Simeon and Anna remind us of, the need to demonstrate faithfulness. Of course, I’ve named from my own life an individual who stood out and from wider society individuals who have made enormous impact. But it is much simpler than all of this. Here on this last Sunday of the year, I want you to close your eyes and picture the sanctuary. Think about where you normally sit, the faces you normally see. The voices you normally hear each and every Sunday.
These are the faithful ones as well. Stalwarts of the faith, individuals created in the image of God, full of love and grace. Each and every one of you. Thank you for the grace you offer to one another, thank you for all you have done for one another over this difficult year. And thank you for being a faithful child of God. Amen.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.
St. Andrew’s supports the gathering of community agencies, providing space for the Affordable Housing Committee. Rev. Ellis’ voice is key in advocating for improvements in awareness, empathy and action on key determinants such as housing, income and food security.
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