December 28, 2007

Parting Peace

Luke 2:21-40

"You now dismiss your servant in peace."
Luke 2:29


As a young seminarian, I most feared conducting funerals. But over the course of my ministry, that changed. I not only became comfortable conducting funerals but grew to enjoy most funerals more than weddings and baptisms. I know that may seem strange. But the reason was simple. Funerals are moments when the real issues of life are put on stark display. In those endings of life-especially among aged believers-I saw the words of Simeon taking on fresh meaning: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation ..."

Simeon had been appointed a spiritual watchman, scanning the horizon for the Christ. He had been promised that before his eyes closed for the last time, they would see the long-awaited Savior of the world. When he took Jesus in his arms, his wait was over. He could depart in peace because God had completed his Word.

Some of us may be coming to the end of life's journey, and we may be struggling with that. In the words of the poet Dylan Thomas, we may be tempted to "rage, rage, against the dying of the light."

But if your confidence is in the Christchild, then you can experience Simeon's peace. As life's journey ends, Jesus promises to go with you all the way through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).

Lord, some of us are struggling with weakness that shows our journey on earth is ending. Be with us in our dying, and give us a peace that transcends the grave. Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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