Tuesday, April 1, 2014


A Duality of Blessing                             


Luke 2:25-35                 

A promise fulfilled, Simeon has finally met the baby Jesus and knew he could go peacefully. He praised God, and blessed the amazed parents, Joseph and Mary. Yes, humanity would be saved. Those who had adverse, antagonistic, self-serving, oppressive thoughts would be uncovered. Simultaneously there would be "new" groups of people who would embrace the possibilities for salvation and decide to step purposely into the fulfillment of God's redemptive work. And while all of this was going on, Jesus would be in the middle of it and be made to suffer and be mortally wounded.


Yet what struck me most about this passage is the comment Simeon made to Mary: "[A]nd a sword will pierce your own soul too."


How or why is Mary's experience different than the two men? In her, there seems to be a duality of blessing. She shares in the witness of the praise and the salvation and the glory. But there is a piece of her that is also mortally wounded. What pain must she endure for the greater good? I imagine that there are times when blessing does not translate into "happy" or "gleeful."


As a mom of a teenager, I know there will be more times when I have to stand back and watch her live her life. Her very life blesses me. However, her decisions may not be mine and the older she gets none of her decisions will be mine to make. Still, I love her enough to let her go even if it causes me emotional grief. Perhaps this Lenten season, we are being called to consider our own hurt in the midst of blessing; something that we bristle against even though deep down we know that it collapses into the bounds of grace. 

Ruth T. West

SFTS Interim Program Manager for the Program in Christian Spirituality  and CPE Program 

SFTS M.Div. 2012, DASD 2013