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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

27 February: Brian Blogg, Petersfield United Reformed Church

Peace with God

A friend recently lamented that he was increasingly forgetting the names of people that he knew very well. I was able to empathise with him and we consoled ourselves that it was probably just part of growing old.

God, however, through his grace compensates us in our advancing years with insights that might well have passed us by earlier in life. About six weeks after the events told in the Christmas story we read in Luke's gospel of Simeon, described as a righteous and devout man but otherwise, apparently, holding no particular office. Although his age is not given it is generally assumed that he was of advanced years. He was living in Jerusalem just at the time when Jesus parents brought him for the purification rites required by Jewish law. It was God's Holy Spirit that prompted Simeon to enter the temple courts and he recognises that the baby Jesus is no less than God's Messiah, the 'chosen one'. It was that same Holy Spirit who had previously revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen that 'chosen one'; the Christ!

But now he has seen him, and he says "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised" (God never breaks his promise) "you now dismiss you servant in peace". (Luke chapter 2 verse 29) He is ready to die.

It remains true 2,000 years later that anyone, regardless of age, who has seen, truly seen, that Jesus Christ is God's 'chosen one' who came to be the Saviour of the world and thus to reconcile us to God can die in peace. As Matthew Henry put it "in peace with God, peace with his own conscience, in peace with death".

This article was submitted for publication in the Petersfield Post on 27 February; it is possible that it was published earlier or may be published later.

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