Today’s extract from Nouwen says it all really…
“Every time I try to meditate on a sacred event such as this [the Presentation at the Temple], I find myself tempted to think about it in an intellectual way. But today I realized more strongly than ever before that I simply have to be there…. I do not have to explain or examine these events. I simply have to step into them and allow them to surround me.”
So simple. So incredibly difficult for a natural “thinker” like me to do.
It calls us to be rather than to do, to experience rather than to understand.
And as we are increasingly able to do just that we will find, as did Simeon, that God does indeed keep His word. Simeon was promised that he would see the Lord’s Messiah. So what did he do about it? I suspect he simply trusted, watched and waited, ever alert but not trying to make it happen for himself. He didn’t go dashing around searching for the Messiah. He simply lived his life, trusting and believing the promise of God. He certainly didn’t spend every waking moment in the Temple being devout! And the result? because he was so in tune with God, always listening to the still, small voice which can only be heard in the silence of our hearts when all our thinking and busy-ness is stilled, he was guided by the Spirit to enter the Temple at just that one moment when the parents brought in the child Jesus. And his eyes were opened to see in that very ordinary little baby, one among many, the extraordinary – the salvation of the world.
As we learn to be rather than to do, to experience rather than to analyse, we too will become more and more in tune with God and our eyes will increasingly be opened to se through the ordinary to the extraordinary. Every encounter, every experience will become sacramental – an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.
And here are other people posting on the Advent Book Club: