Simeon - Luke 2: 22-35
Simeon - Luke 2:22-35
The presentation of Jesus in the Temple
The “Nunc Dimittus”
White Birch 22” x 32”
This carving came from the heart. It is based on Luke 2:22-35 and the biblical account of the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth, their home town, to Jerusalem for the rite of purification, at which time they also intended to present the child to the Lord.
In the temple was a man named Simeon, who is described as a righteous and devout man, who had, for reasons only God knows, been told through private revelation that He would not die before seeing the Messiah, the Anointed One of God.
The moment Mary and Joseph presented Jesus to the Lord, according to the custom of the Law, Simeon recognized the child as the Messiah, no doubt at the inner prompting of the Spirit. He takes the child into his arms and blessed God for keeping his promise after all these years.
His song of praise was preserved for us by the gospel writer Luke. It has come to be known over the centuries as the "Nunc Dimittus", literally "Now I can depart in peace...". It is a beautiful act of praise that we see in these words from a man whose unfaltering trust in God allowed him to believe that God would keep His promise.
A story-board motif was employed so that various elements of the
Simeon account could be included in the carving. Completing the story are images of the Temple, the pair of sacrificial turtle doves that were to be used in the rite of purification, Joseph, Mary and the babe en-route to Jerusalem, and finally the dove, representing the presence and activity of the Spirit of God in the lives of these individuals.
Note the swirling background behind Simeon and the Baby.
This design element represents the rising of incense in the Temple, which in turn represent prayers being offered up to God. The Bible often describes prayers and praise of God's people as a "sweet smelling incense" in God's nostrils.
For this carving, six hands and two faces needed to be carved. The text was generated on computer and copied by hand to the master pattern sheet. The photo of the old man comes from a digital picture I took of a pastor at a nearby Lutheran Church, who was kind enough to pose for this picture.