Nunc Dimittis

Tuesday, January 2, 2007
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Luke 2:27-29 – When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace." (NIV)

We call it the "Nunc Dimittis", and it can be found in the back of many hymnbooks. It's a sung blessing, like the doxology, taken from the words of today's Scripture, and is used by churches across the world as a sacred way of ending the worship service. Simeon's words were meant for himself. He was a tired old man who had waited decades for this special Child to be born. His waiting was now over; there was nothing else for him to do.

As a pastor, I've seen that "nunc dimittis" come into people's lives as they passed on from these shores to greater and better things. There was an old lady called Nan in Maybole who used to baby-sit our daughters when they were infants. She had a beautiful singing voice, a lovely nature, and a sincere faith. When I watched her die peacefully in hospital, with all her family around her, I saw this sacred "nunc dimittis" in action. One moment she was with us, and then her eyes twinkled, and we knew she was gone. It was a divine experience, and it taught me not to fear death.

Wherever you go today and whatever you do, let peace abide in your hearts and homes. It's a wonderful gift that we can all bestow upon one another if we choose. And, after all, if we want peace in the world, doesn't it start with each one of us?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to seek harmony and accord in each of our lives. Wherever we find ourselves today and with whosoever we meet, let us depart from them with peace, hope and love. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

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John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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