In Luke’s gospel, chapter 2, we hear that the one thing the righteous Simeon hoped to tick off his list before he finally ‘kicked the bucket’ was to witness the appearance of the Messiah in God’s Temple: the fulfilment of God’s promise to Israel. Holding the 40-day-old Jesus in his arms, the man is moved by the Spirit to praise God and declare that now, at last, he can die in peace. On Sunday, which was the feast of Candlemas (hence the candles in the photo), Rev’d Lynnette explored this story from several angles, including how our own personal bucket list might compare with God’s will, and what praise and love we owe God for the fact that we can all now ‘take hold’ of the living Christ.
Lynnette also mentioned that this story contains one of the beautiful songs for which Luke’s gospel is noted. The words of the Song of Simeon (in Latin: Nunc Dimittis), are as follows in the NRSV Bible:
Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
(Luke 2: 29–32)
This song has been set to music by many composers down through the centuries. Recordings of two versions are posted here.
The first is a choral piece recorded in 2013:
The well-known Taizé chant has been uploaded to YouTube dozens of times. The one below is accompanied by someone’s holiday snaps, which quite nicely show Taizé and its environs: