Shallow Tin World & the Old Woman
I remember one line from a tinsel cutesy romantic movie that I had “the fortune” to watch once, now years ago. In Kate & Leopold, Leopold is asked if he misses anything from 18th century, from whence he came. His response is “no time for reflection”.
I don’t rest well – I’m an “A” type, High D, Activator, I’m social, but results are important. I’m exacting to work for, demand excellence, have little patience for those with no standards of excellence and desire to win. I’ve worked to be more graceful, more patient, etc, yet, I’m hard on myself, and find it hard to play and rest …for more than a day or two. This Christmas, I’ve forced myself to STOP! I’ve done email every few days, played on Facebook, played X-Box with my boys, went for walks with my boys and alone, slept in almost every day, watched movies and shows I’ve stored, and spent time laughing with people. It’s been great. I think I might actually see life anew, being rested!
I’ve always admired both Simeon and Anna. Anna gets such a small moment on the stage, but… SHE’S NAMED and REMEMBERED in the birth account of Christ… repeated and noted for years – until in Luke’s thorough examination that brought him to record all he had found reliable about the life of Jesus, she is named, honored and remembered. Amazing!
When you read her story, she was married (normally 13 in those days) and her husband died when they had been married for seven years – so she was 20 years old! She remained a widow for decades – until at 84, the Christ is born. At some point in her life, she went to the Temple and became a person who prayed and worshiped, NONSTOP day in and day out, morning, night, through the seasons, through the wars, disasters, celebrations, etc. She became known as a person of prayer. In this life she was transformed and gifted to be a prophetess. I’ve seen this before – a person determines to consecrate themselves and pursue God, in spite of whatever criticism or condemnation others mount on them. They set themselves apart and pursue God, leaving distractions and the empty luring of society behind. Through time, often not that long, they are transformed. God then bestows gifts they can now bare and carry humbly and with integrity. So it was for Anna.
She was merited to be a phophetess who “GOT TO” hold, pray over the Messiah Himself, and bless the family. She went on to relay what she had seen through her final days.
Many today would say she missed out. She missed the cultural offerings, indulgences, life experiences, temptations, fun. Now as my temples gray, I see it much differently that I used to. I’ve watched the Bill board charts bounce weekly for years, decades… The music industry raises up its gods and throws them down, consuming them as if sacrifices on their alters of fame, fortune and debauchery. Who remembers, who cares? The many places I’ve been on seven continents, enriching for sure, but more so than a life set apart? No.
Many would say I am one consecrated. I am flattered, but I say step closer and see the cracks in the wax. I’m a broken jar and find myself longing, panging for the intimacy Anna and Simeon, but especially Anna, had with the Transcendent Mysterious God we worship.
Evangelical churches look like Corporate meeting rooms, or suburban movie theaters. They say they can worship God anywhere. I agree, we can – especially in the creation, which reflects Him. Yet, our Liturgical brothers and sisters enjoy something we miss – buildings built to reflect the Majesty, mystery, awesomeness of God… they offer our very best creativity as acts of worship. Some liturgical new churches do homage to the past grandeur, but have been tempted by our streamlined corporate looks as well. Sitting in the Cathedrals, one feels small – as we should. One feels temporal, as we are.
The greatness of God, it beckons me – it calls me. Anna inspires me. My goal and dream this year is to further release the affinity I have for our world and to become strange, as Anna must have been, so consecrated to worship, pray, fast, and profess Him.
Thank you, Anna. I look forward to meeting you one day.