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January 31

St Luke 2, 22 – 24

Something to read

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord"), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."
New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

Luke is the only Gospel writer to record the event of Jesus’ life in chronological order and experts consider him to be one of the most accurate historians of his day although by trade he was a medical doctor.

Whether intentionally or not, Luke seems to be combining two rites here. One is the purification of the mother following the birth of a child (Leviticus 12:1-8) and the other is the presentation in the temple a consecration and redemption of the firstborn signifying that the child is "holy to the Lord" 
Luke makes it clear that Jesus, from the very beginning, is obedient to the Law of Moses.  He also confirms the devotion of Joseph and Mary to the law, mentioning the law three times in verses 22-24 and again in verses 27 and 39.
The law then in question is highlighted in Exodus 13:2.  This is in commemoration of the Passover, where firstborn Jewish males were spared death. The law also requires a sacrifice of "a year old lamb and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering". 

However, there is a provision in the law for a woman who cannot afford a lamb.  In that case, she is allowed to sacrifice two turtledoves or two pigeons. 

Something to do

In today’s unequal world of the few who have much and the many who have too little, it seems fairness has little to do with affordability. In the time of the writings of Luke people traded commodities but today we trade in financial currency.  If you are able help someone in need by donating, making a pledge or volunteering to help others in your community so that your action becomes your witness.

Something to pray

Prince of Peace
you were born into a world
where terror reigned and fear ruled
and live today in a world crucified by war.
Fill us with your passion for justice
that wherever we see evil about
we may live to disturb its path
and strive to build bridges of reconciliation.
In darkness, beckon us with your kindly light
that we never lose sight of your vision of peace
in which the lion lies down with the lamb
Annabel Shilson-Thomas

Today’s contributor is Dionne Gravesende, Christian Aid’s Head of Church Advocacy. 

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