Finding Peace in Faithfulness

In Luke 2:25-32, the biblical character Simeon is an old man waiting on the promise of the Messiah. He has placed himself in the Temple which he rightly assumes to be the best possible location to maintain a daily lookout for the deliverer. It is in the course of this relentless vigil that Joseph, Mary, and a very young baby Jesus cross paths with this singular man “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” In a Rafiki action that was sure to shock the nativity family, Simeon takes the child and declares: “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation.” His faithful persistence had been rewarded with personal peace.

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a parable highlighting five prepared maidens and five unprepared who await a promised bridegroom. Lacking lamp oil, the latter group is forced to rush to make the last-minute purchase. In this nuptial analogy, all anticipate the arrival, but only some are actually ready. Ultimately, the unprepared are not only frantic in their distress but are forever shut out of the wedding feast as a result of their dodgy foresight.

The Welsh poet Henry Vaughan[1] lived in the 1600s and wrote often on faith and theology. In one such instance, he writes of this unique union of finding Christ and finding peace in his poem simply entitled “Peace:”

My Soul, there is a country

Afar beyond the stars,

Where stands a winged sentry

All skillful in the wars;

There, above noise and danger

Sweet Peace sits, crown’d with smiles,

And One born in a manger

Commands the beauteous files.

He is thy gracious friend

And (O my Soul awake!)

Did in pure love descend,

To die here for thy sake.

If thou canst get but thither,

There grows the flow’r of peace,

The rose that cannot wither,

Thy fortress, and thy ease.

Leave then thy foolish ranges,

For none can thee secure,

But One, who never changes,

Thy God, thy life, thy cure.[2]

If our search for God is unsettled, there is a cure. As we watch biblical figures faithfully await the premiere advent, we learn how to better find our own peace in our faithful anticipation of the sequel. As Matthew 25:6 says: “at midnight there was a cry,” someone will shout ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’”

[1]For more on Henry Vaughan see: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/henry-vaughan

[2]https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45429/peace-56d2250b10901

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