Daily reading: 4 February
The favour of God was upon him.
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
- Luke 2:36-40.
Can't you see her? An old lady, a widow for many, many years, with nothing to do but to worship. And so she does. She practically lives in the Women's Court of the Temple, day and night. And she is a prophetess, a female prophet.
Notice that she doesn't speak about Jesus to everyone, but particularly to those in the temple whom she knew also looked forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Like Simeon, who looks forward to the 'consolation' or comfort of Jerusalem, Anna looks forward to the time when Jerusalem will once again be free from Roman oppression.
There have been a few courageous people in recent times who have fought for the justice and rights of many. Revd Dr Martin Luther King Jr was just one. His famous line 'free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last' would ring bells with Anna and Simeon - and, like them, one day we, too, can behold Jesus our Saviour and the freedom he offers.
Have you ever had your movements restricted? Unable to come and go as you please or forced from your home? Such a feeling must be both distressing and frustrating.
Today remember all the people who are incarcerated, unwell or infirm, those whose land has been occupied and are under curfew, and those who have left homes and been forced to migrate to other lands for reasons outside their control. Hold all of these people in the centre of your prayers today.
give us a heart for simple things:
love and laughter
bread and water
tales and dreams.
Fill our lives
with green and growing hope
make us a people of justice
whose song is Alleluia
and whose name breathes love.
Today’s contributor is Dionne Gravesande, Christian Aid’s Senior Ecumenical Relations Manager.
Published on 04 February 2018