Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thursday - days of purification

Prayer: Creator God,  You have called each of us by name and we know that we are Yours.     Guide us as we live this day in Your joy and Your praise.  Help us to respond to You so that others may know  of Your great love each and every day.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read  St. Luke 2:  21-24

When we read these verses,  it almost seems as if Jesus was circumcised in the Temple in Jerusalem.   But if we really look at the rites of  Judaism,  we realize that the circumcision – naming of Jesus is a separate event from Joseph, Mary, and Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem.

And on the eighth day,   Jesus is circumcised and named.   The circumcision ceremony could either be done at home or in the Synagogue.   What we do not know is where Jesus was circumcised and named.   Was this ceremony held at their new home or in the Synagogue?  We are not told.  But,  what is important here is that Joseph and Mary followed the laws of Moses.    Jesus is circumcised and name “Jesus”  (Yahweh is saviour).

In the Laws of Moses,  it states that the first born son was the property of God.    So Joseph and Mary and Jesus pack up themselves and head  5 miles to Jerusalem so that the Rabbi can bless Jesus (also known as the Rite of Presentation).    This travelling would not be nine days after Jesus was born but at least 40 days after Jesus was born.   Under the law of Moses,  a woman who had given birth was ceremonially unclean and strictly segregated for seven days after the birth of a son.   For 33 days longer she could not visit nor take part in any religious service and is considered unclean.  (Leviticus 12).   Once the days of purification are over,  she must offer before the LORD  a lamb, young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering and another for a burnt offering.    Mary offers two doves.  

Prayer:  Great God,  who has called us to be servants together with You,  make us now of one heart and mind to pray and to  work for Your glory.  Strengthen us so that we can build Your church as You would see the Church.   Heal us so that we can come whole into Your community so that others may know of Your love.   For this and all other things we ask in the name of Jesus,  Amen.

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