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She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem. Luke 2:38 (NLT)

God’s message of hope never changes. God’s message of hope never grows old. Just as God’s message of hope never loses its effectiveness, neither do his messengers. Religion tends to hold on to tradition and thus lose its voice in society, or adapts to a changing society and loses its message of hope.

The prophetess, Anna, is a perfect example of the fact that age never disqualifies you from ministry. Nor does age rob you of the ability to minister effectively. Scholars disagree somewhat on Anna’s age. Some think she was 84, some think she was a widow for 84 years. Either way it’s safe to assume Anna was…OLD!

Even so, her age never kept her from seeking God. She was always in the temple. Some think she may have even been employed there. At any rate she was in the temple worshipping, praying, fasting and seeking God.

While her age may have kept her from performing some of the duties of the temple, it didn’t stop her from the most important part of the believer’s life. She prayed often and spoke to others about God’s love, forgiveness and hope.

She no doubt gave courage to the fearful, words of encouragement to those in desperate times; wisdom to those facing uncertain futures; offered praises to God when people found victory in their faith.

It’s interesting that when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple to offer sacrifice and to dedicate him to the Lord the baby was seen as nothing special. No fanfare greeted the new parents. No public announcement of the baby born in a manger.

The only ones to ‘see’ the couple and the baby on that busy temple day were two elderly people who had spent a life time seeking after God. Anna never lost her desire to serve. She never lost her focus on what was important: Prayer, worship, testifying to the hope we have in God’s provision of forgiveness and hope.

I’m thankful today for the Anna’s of our world. To those dear saints who haven’t let their age detract from their ministry. To those who may not understand all the ‘new things’ in the world, but embrace them and use them to further the Kingdom. Age is never an excuse for lack of effectiveness for God.

As the old hymn states so well:

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, Lord Jesus, ’tis now.

PRAYER: Father, I thank you for those who have grown old in you yet young in spirit and in faith. I ask that you would encourage them with your spirit and that those of us who are younger would not lose sight of their usefulness to you and to us. Amen.

The time came for Mary and Joseph to do what the Law of Moses says a mother is supposed to do after her baby is born. They took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord, Luke 2:22 (CEV)

Plain and simple reality of it is, church can be boring. Depending on the style of worship, many churches do the same thing at the same time, and, at times, for reasons unknown.

It’s really no wonder that the younger generations question why we do the things we do and why we do them. It’s a sad reflection on the body of Christ that entire church families have been split because some wanted to things done differently and others wanted to protect the ‘status quo.’

Things haven’t changed much of course. During the time Jesus walked on earth the worship in the ‘church’ was pretty much the same as it had been for hundreds of years. Offering sacrifice, celebrating feasts, making pilgrimages were all a well orchestrated process with little room for deviation.

The key to true worship then, just as now, was attitude. I wonder what was going through Joseph and Mary’s head as they entered the temple that day! They had no doubt witnessed many dedications of children in their lives. They’d seen the ceremony, watched the sacrifices, and perhaps joined in the celebration.

The Law of Moses demanded that each child be dedicated to the Lord. Boys were dedicated about 40 days after their birth, girls a bit later. But each child was taken to the temple and sacrifices offered to the Lord.

There can be many ‘theological’ opinions on the method and the process of the dedication, but the reason for this activity was to present the child before the Heavenly Father, the one who formed him/her in the womb. The earthly parents come before the Heavenly Parent to give back to him what he’s given to them.

The main player in the process was God, not the parents.

Do you think Mary and Joseph were a bit more aware of that fact as they entered the Temple than other parents? They both had conversations with angels. They’d heard the report of the shepherds. They’d seen prophecy fulfilled before their very eyes. And it wasn’t done yet!

While none of us as parents have had angelic visits proclaiming our children to be the ‘Messiah’, we all have the same responsibility that Mary and Joseph did. We all need to realize that our children are not our own. They are on loan to us from the Father who created them. Our responsibility is to nurture them throughout their lives in a way that glorifies their creator, not our tradition.

The dedication of a child to the Lord (regardless of the method) is much more than a ritual. It’s much more than a one-time occurrence. Dedication of our children to the Lord is the beginning of a process, not the end. The responsibility of teaching Gods’ ways falls on the parents, not the church (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Dedication of our children to the Lord is much more than a ritual and lasts a lifetime.

PRAYER: Father I pray for our families. I pray that parents will rely on you for the wisdom to teach their children in your way. I pray for children, that they may find the freedom in Christ to live fulfilled lives. In Jesus name, Amen.

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May 2022
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