Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Simeon and Anna

This is probably my favourite picture from my trip to Jerusalem in 2008. It was taken at about 6:30am in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by the Edicule (the tomb of Christ) and is of a Coptic priest reading the scriptures by candlelight. When I saw the priest I immediately thought of Simeon faithfully waiting for the consolation of Israel in the Temple.


Today is Candlemas when we celebrate the presentation of Jesus in the Temple and remember the witness of the devout Simeon and the prophetess Anna (Luke 2:22-40).

When Simeon saw the Christ child he uttered the words known as the Nunc Dimittis. Anna responded by thanking God and talking about Jesus to those who were waiting for God’s deliverance. Two elderly, faithful servants of God, trusting him and waiting for his time and glimpsing the glory of God revealed in Jesus as they approached the end of their lives.

Candlemas is one of those pivotal Christian festivals when we look back to the birth of Christ and forward to his crucifixion. This painting by Bartolome Esteban Murillo is titled The Infant Christ Asleep on the Cross (1670s). Christ child

The shocking image depicts the Christ child asleep on the cross with a skull lying beside him. Both these symbols directly refer to his forthcoming sacrifice and are intended to emphasise the notion that Christ was born in order to die for the world.

Doug Chaplin has created his own images for Candlemas. Maggi Dawn and Tim Goodbody have also posted interesting reflections on the festival.

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Nunc Dimittis 1662 Book of Common Prayer

1 comment:

paul said...

Wonderful photograph, philip.