This Sunday’s worship is overflowing with images – it is the Sunday after Epiphany, so we will hear about Christ as a light to the nations; it is the Baptism of Our Lord, so we will celebrate the gift of baptism that unites us to Jesus’ sacrificial ministry; it is Peter preaching to Cornelius’ household that “God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God.”
Yet, somehow my favorite image comes through the sung theology of the nunc dimittis, the Song of Simeon that we have sung as a post-Communion canticle throughout Christmas and will continue to sing through the season of Time after Epiphany. Found in the second chapter of the Gospel of Like, Simeon’s song inspires hope in me. An old man holds a newborn babe in his arms and, somehow, he knows that God’s promises of salvation for the entire world are being fulfilled before his very eyes.
New life inspires that kind of hope, seemingly foolish hope, that because of one new life there might be hope for a kind of new life for us all. In our baptisms we remember and are reborn into the new life of Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine. In celebrating his baptism we are reminded that there is hope after all, for all of us. That kind of hope allows us to sing along with Simeon, “now Lord, you let your servant go in peace.”