The Gospel text for this Sunday [Luke 2:22-40] contains an important bridge, that of the scriptures to that of the church’s liturgy. It contains the so-called ‘Song of Simeon’. It was revealed to Simeon that he was looking at the One promised from almost the very beginning, the One who would crush the serpent’s head, the Messiah—the One anointed to be the ultimate prophet, priest, and king. And Simeon basically says, ‘Now I can die.’
There are a lot of bible passages that could be in the church’s liturgy. In a traditional congregation, there are a lot of bible passages that ARE in the church’s liturgy. While some bible passages are better than others, it is usually a good foundation upon which to build. And, in some of the more modern hymnals, the different parts of the church’s liturgy have the bible references nearby.
The most helpful passages give the biggest perspectives. That is why I felt comfortable giving, for the last four Sundays, sermons based on the Small Catechism of Dr. Luther, a summary of the entire scriptures. The biggest perspectives deal with the biggest issues—and three big ones are sin, death, and the devil. That is why the liturgy ultimately focuses on our salvation in Christ.
Are some people ready to die? When people answer that question negatively, they usually have a smaller perspective. There is always a to-do list; there is always more that could be done by us. More important is what HAS BEEN DONE FOR US.
In the first few verses of the Gospel according to Luke, the writer describes his account as being ‘orderly’ [Luke 1:3]. The typical definition is ‘pertaining to being in sequence in time, space, or logic [BDAG, p. 490].’ I would think that, with the typical synoptic problem answers, most would want the writer to give an orderly TIME sequence. A logical—in terms of ‘theological’—approach would be more much helpful.
I think that the four gospel accounts are much more theological than we give them credit. And that is some incredibly good news.