Pastor’s Letter for February 2022


Pastor Jim Martin of St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Weston, WV
Jim Martin

In the passage Luke 2:22-40, Luke describes what is known as the Presentation of the Lord.  “Luke explicitly says that Joseph and Mary take the option provided for poor people (those who could not afford a lamb; Leviticus 12:8), sacrificing ‘a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.’  Leviticus 12:1-4 indicates that this event should take place 40 days after birth for a male child.”  Therefore, the Presentation is celebrated 40 days after Christmas.

As Mary and Joseph enter the Temple (in Jerusalem), they encounter an old man by the name of Simeon.  The Scripture introduces us to Simeon:

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah” (Luke 2:25-26).

Simeon must have been ancient.  But with the Holy Spirit resting upon him, I imagine him still spry, standing straight, with a clear twinkle in his eyes.   

“Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel’” (Luke 2:27-32). 

Simeon was ecstatic!  Image the shock of Mary and Joseph as Simeon whisked the baby Jesus from Mary’s arms, cradling him, and praising God.  Simeon proclaims that his eyes see God’s salvation and a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory of your people Israel as his eyes meet the eyes of the Lord’s Messiah, the eyes of God-With-Us.

As you have heard it said, Epiphany is a time of revealing.  Specifically in the Christian context, the revealing or revelation of Christ Jesus. 

This moment was Simeon’s revelation.  When Simeon encountered and beheld (literally) the living Christ.  He was overcome with joy.  And quite literally, he had accomplished what God had set out for him to do:  To see the Lord’s Messiah.  He could now rest.  He would rest assured that God’s promises were to be fulfilled.  He would rest in the delight that he was a witness to God-With-Us. 

In this season of Epiphany, I invite you to reflect on your epiphany of God-With-Us.  Perhaps once, perhaps many times you have had an encounter with the Holy.  Perhaps you are unsure to identify such an event in your life.  Think of Holy Communion, fellowship time with those you walk in this journey with Christ, gazing at the bright morning sun, beholding a newborn child.  All these may qualify.  Did you feel a warmth welling up inside of you?  Did you give praise to God?  For perhaps only a moment, did everything seem right in the world? 

Now, as we continue to walk together through this current season of Epiphany, let us look for Christ Jesus in our daily lives.  Don’t focus on the extraordinary; rather, look to the ordinary!  Look to the ordinary because Jesus is constantly among us, in everything, everywhere. 

Make space in your life, make space in your very being, inviting the Holy Spirit to rest upon you.  And when you encounter God-With-Us, be filled with expectation and give praise to God!   

In Christ,

+ Pastor Jim