Jeremiah's prophetic journey to the potter’s house (Jeremiah 18:1-6) invites response from those in the second half of life. Sent by the Spirit, the prophet watches the potter forming and then reforming the lump of clay. The Lord tells Jeremiah that His creative hands shape our lives. He invites us to yield to His artistic expression. Consider that the Lord reforms us also for this second half of life as well. God has His hands on your life and shapes you for the present season. Simeon, the witness of baby Jesus’ identity as “light to the nations and the glory of His people Israel,” demonstrates a faithful response to God’s calling in the second half of life.
With the last day of his life’s labor long past, Simeon found great joy in a growing idea of a new calling as witness of the One who is “light to the Gentiles and the glory of his people Israel,” our Lord Jesus. Simeon yielded to this calling. As he ‘leaned’ into it, the Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would see the Lord's Messiah and bear witness to His presence in Israel.
At the end of his long life, Simeon found himself perfectly placed. He resided in Jerusalem, the city of God. He could and did stroll to the temple. Every day twice per day he worshipped with the burning of incense right outside the holy of holies, the place of the presence of Yahweh. Like the psalmist, Simeon sought THE one thing he asked of the Lord, that he may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of his life; to behold the delightfulness of the Lord and to meditate in His temple (Psalm 27:4).
Filled with the Spirit as he worshipped and meditated, joy sprang up in Simeon’s heart. He was perfectly positioned in this season to search among the dozens of young families bringing their first-born sons to the temple. They came to redeem and to consecrate them to the Lord (Exodus 13). Imagine how everyday he arose before dawn to hurry to the temple, thinking as he walked, “Today, I may see the Messiah!” With what eager expectation did he approach these young families!
Even when he discovered the baby that they were dedicating wasn't the Messiah, he enjoyed mothers telling the stories of birth, and fathers recounting the tales of the adventures of the journey to Jerusalem. He savored parents’ pleasure in their children. With a father he celebrated this baby's strength; flirting with a mother, he commented on how the baby owned her pretty eyes. Here was the opportunity to share folk wisdom about cures for colicky little ones, hints about strategies to extend sleep, and most importantly, to remind these parents that the Messiah was coming soon. Every day Simeon delighted in the diversity of circumstances of these young families. He enjoyed the range of the physical features of those who make up as Israel. Every day, he blessed these young people. Every day was a new adventure. Every day, he held opportunity to wade into the multitudes and discover specific treasures to pray for, to ask God's favor on unique children, and to bless families as he learned about them.
Then the day of his longing arrived. The holy family entered the temple environs. Simeon saw and hurried to meet them. Taking the Baby in his arms, the Spirit confirmed that He was Messiah. Simeon blessed God, reminding Him that his time of ministry is now complete and revealing the identity of the boy, “God’s Salvation!” He blessed Mother Mary and her husband Joseph.
The second half of life. Yielding to the Artist’s creativity. Shaped for the present time. A growing awareness of God’s calling. Blessing young families. Revealing Jesus. Ask the Spirit for the contours of your calling in the second half of life. Let the seed grow in your heart. Lean into it.