Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Purification of Mary & Presentation of Our Lord

The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord
February 2, 2010

The Lord be with you

Many people today will be thinking of groundhogs today as they either rejoice or morn over whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees, or does not see, his shadow. The best thing about Groundhog Day, in my opinion, is the movie “Groundhog Day,” that came out over a decade ago staring Bill Murray. (While not a candidate for one of the all time great films, it is an enjoyable diversion.)

On the liturgical calendar used at Lamb of God Lutheran (LCMS) today is recognized for something far more significant, the purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord. Thirty-two days after Jesus’ circumcision and seventy weeks after the announcement of John’s birth to Zechariah by the angel Gabriel, the Lord comes to His temple to fulfill the Torah (Luke 2:22-38). The days are indeed fulfilled with the presentation. Jesus’ parents keep the Torah and fulfill it by bringing Jesus to His true home. Also, Jesus’ parents offer the alternative sacrifice of two turtledoves or two pigeons. Leviticus 12:8 allows this instead of a lamb, since not everyone could afford a lamb (showing the poverty and humility of Joseph and Mary). Yet no lamb was necessary because already here at forty days old, Jesus is the Lamb of God brought to His temple for sacrifice. Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis is a beautiful example of the immediate response to this inauguration of God’s consolation and redemption in the Christ Child. Speaking to Mary, Simeon also prophesies about the destiny of the child.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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