Simeon said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples. - Luke 2:29-31 (RSV)
When old Simeon looks into Jesus’ 8-day-old eyes as the baby rests in his arms, he proclaims that his eyes have seen God’s salvation—soterion in Greek. From the root sozo, it means to “save, rescue from harm, protect.” Simeon’s song echoes Isaiah’s promise that God would save his exiled people and bring them home safely. Simeon extends that promise of salvation to include all people.
In truth, salvation isn’t a word I use much, whether in English or Greek. Neither does the church I serve, United Church of Santa Fe. For some of us, “salvation” conjures up words like sin, depravity, damnation.
But we at United Church should not dismiss the word “salvation” in such a way that we neglect to join Simeon in thanking God for all the ways God has saved us, individually and as a congregation. Saved us from despair when the mortgage was too big or the pandemic too long. Saved us from our grief when beloved members died. Saved us from complacency when we got too settled. Saved us from fear when the future seemed uncertain.
Like Simeon, we have seen God’s salvation: in a new child brought for baptism, in the ongoing challenge to love this world as God loves, in the everyday joy of coming together as a congregation. Perhaps you have seen such salvation in your church, too.
Thank you, God, for your gift of salvation and for opening the eyes of our heart to see it. Amen.