I have a fresh appreciation of this classic painting from Rembrandt, Simeon in the Temple. This 17th Century Dutch masterpiece depicts Simeon holding Jesus in the Temple. Jesus — the one Simeon had longed to see and now couldn't take his eyes off — was in his arms and he didn't want to miss a thing.
Recently my son and his wife delivered a baby boy. Our first grandchild! We have been waiting for him but when he arrived I couldn't wait for my turn to hold him. I gently rocked him and just looked at his face. I didn't want to miss a thing. And in that rare moment when he opened his eyes up to me, I melted with joy. You grandparents get what I'm talking about.
Tomorrow, the Christian church worldwide enters a season called Lent on Ash Wednesday. It’s a chance for us to set aside time each day to look into the face of Jesus and look for things we may otherwise miss. On Sundays we are going through the Weekend that Changed History. Maybe Lent is a time to think again of the section of that last weekend of Jesus on earth that we discovered on Sunday and meditate on it deeper with thanksgiving in your heart. And maybe in one of those times of contemplation, you might even sense Jesus opening His eyes at you and you too melting with inner joy.
For those that are used to giving up something at Lent, please do so again — just replace it with looking into the face of Jesus. Every time you crave the chocolate you gave up for Lent, dwell on what Christ gave up to pay for our sins.
And for those of you that would like to join me on Ash Wednesday and even receive ashes as a mark of repentance, I will be at the church tomorrow from 7 am - 9 am. I will lead us in a time of reflection together.