A priest and performer considers religion, the arts, and the often thin space between sacred and secular, church and culture, pulpit and pew.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Song of Anna the Prophet: a Canticle for the Presentation

When Mary and Joseph present Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:22-40), Simeon takes the child in his arms and praises God that he has been allowed to see the salvation of his people. Anna is there, too, we're told; she is called a prophet, and while Luke's description of her honors Anna, we are not allowed to hear her prophetic words. Why is she silenced? We don't know. What might she have said? Perhaps something like this:

My spirit and my voice cry out in praise!

God has favored these failing eyes with the vision of redemption,
For I have seen the answer to my lifelong prayer.

She who never birthed an infant now delivers a song of joy.
She who never nursed a child sees Salvation nourished at his mother’s breast.
She who fasted day and night in the Temple now feasts on the riches of God’s grace.

You who have waited for the glory of Israel: see, your reward is here.
You who look for the redemption of Jerusalem: come, behold its appearing.
You who yearn for freedom: rejoice, for the chains of your oppression have been loosed!

God has been gracious to his faithful servant, and crowned my years with the sight of his holiness!

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