The presentation of Christ
Picture from the Mafa people of Cameroon/ Eastern Nigeria 20th C
Read: Luke 2.36-40
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 for seven years after her marriage, 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.
Simeon was not alone in recognising God at work in the infant Jesus. A widow of eighty-four, called Anna, who had lived in the Temple for decades also spotted Jesus among the crowds. Her response was not only to praise God but also to talk about him to all around her who were “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem”. She is one of the earliest evangelists in the Gospels. This is Good News that cannot be contained.
This picture was painted by a member of the Mafa people of Cameroon and Eastern Nigeria. Anna is pictured peering round Simeon’s shoulder, smiling with delight at the child. The picture portrays the events taking place in their own local setting, with local people in local dress. This picture, one of a series, was a deliberate attempt to help people understand that God comes to us where we are, speaking our language.
- If you were Anna, what would you say to those around you about this child?
- Why do you think Jesus is special (if you do)?
- Spend some time imagining this story happening where you are. How do you imagine the scene would look?