Peace to you, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
We just celebrated one of the most significant festivals of the Church: Presentation in the Temple.
This festival is unusual. We are already far from Christmas, we have already heard about the Baptism of the Lord, we heard about the miracle at the wedding at Cana and about the call of the first disciples, we observed the Confession of Saint Peter and the Conversion of Saint Paul, and Feast of his followers: saint bishops Timothy and Titus.
But today we read again about Saint Mary and about the Wonderful Child, again almost there is a Christmas theme.
It looks that we are back to Christmas, but this is not by accident: thus, the Church reminds us again that the Word became Flesh, that the Light came into the world, and that this Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.
(From the sermon by our Bishop Vsevolod).
You hold salvation in your hands. That is why the confession of Simeon — “now let Your servant, O Lord, to rest in peace, for mine eyes have seen Your salvation” — for all the time the Church recognizes this in the Eucharistic sense.
“My eyes have seen Your salvation.” One of the ancient liturgists, Saint Cyril of Jerusalem wrote: “Do not think that it is about your feelings. No, but about your unbreakable faith. Because when eating, you not eat the bread and wine, but the flesh and the blood of Christ. Come… and place the left palm under the right, and make as the throne, to obtain the King and receive… the Body of Christ and say amen. Carefully consecrate your eyes at the contemplation of this holy body and then taste of it” (end of the quote).
Have you noticed the similarity? “Make as the throne, to obtain the King … carefully consecrate your eyes…” — this is quite paraphrasing of the words of Saint Simeon. Our eyes see the King, the Lord, the salvation, too. What God has prepared before the face of all nations, now it has reached you and me.
In the holy sacrament, God comes to us so close that we can touch Him. He comes to us not in our dreams, or fantasies, or feelings, not in metaphorical sense, but objectively, really, that is: eucharisticcally.
Saint Simeon devoted to waiting to meet God through all his life. How hard it is — to wait through all your life? I do not know. Probably, it is very difficult. The Gospel does not say about it. Gospel just describes the joy that God’s promises come true. The joy that long life was lived as devoted to one purpose – to meet with the Savior. And now He came, and now we are not afraid to die. Because there is no death, if you hold in your hands your salvation.
We wish you blessed time after Epiphany.
Please pray for the Lutheran clergymen and laypeople in Siberia.
“Faith and hope”
Please see attached photos.