“Anna, a widow for eighty-four years, never left the temple, but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.” -Luke 2:37
Read Luke 2:36-38
As a young woman serving with Youth With A Mission in Hollywood, I was introduced to Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. In his collected writings, this 17th century Carmelite lay brother shares how he learned to cultivate a continual awareness of God in every present moment. The most mundane of life’s chores was an opportunity for Brother Lawrence to display God’s love and glory and to enjoy communion with God. For a YWAM-er whose day alternated between sharing the Gospel on Hollywood Boulevard and baking 80 biscuits or going to the laundromat, Brother Lawrence’s insights were especially timely. My sense of the nearness of God was forever changed.
In Luke 2 the contrast between Simeon and Anna is striking. Simeon came to the temple seeking the Messiah. Once he saw God’s promise accomplished, he imagined no further mission for his life. Anna was in the temple because the temple was her home. Her life, like Brother Lawrence’s, revolved around nurturing her relationship with God and deepening her connection to the divine. She, too, experienced the revelation of Jesus not because she was expecting it but because she lived amidst God’s work and attended to God’s presence.
Can it be said of us that we never leave the temple? Can it be said that we walk in an awareness of God in every present moment? If we do, the revelation of Jesus is everywhere.
Lord, may we be connected to you in all we do that we may see and show your love and glory in the world.
Mary Shamshoian, LMFT, Program Director, On-Site Counseling Program, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary